Concert organizat de corul Bisericii Albini în Salina Turda – 141

http://www.bisericaalbini.com

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Vasilica Croitor si Emil Mestereaga – Agentia Penticostala de Misiune Externa (APME)

Interviu – Emisiunea: Pana la marginile Pamantului cu Ghita Ritisan. Published on Mar 22, 2012 by 

Invitati: Pastorul Vasilica Croitoru, Biserica Penticostala Betleem, Medgidia si autor al cartii „Rascumpararea Memoriei”. Emil Mestereaga este Pastor la Biserica Vestea Buna – Bucuresti, Profesor de Limba Greaca la Institutul Teologic Penticostal si Pastorul Studentilor (ITP).

Link pentru APME aici.

Part 1

Part 2

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Covenants, Kings and the Promised Land (video)

DVD available at Barnes & Noble (click on photo) (Volumes 1 &2)

(DVD at Barnes & NoblesAmazon):

Overview

In a style all his own, Dave Stotts–host and editor of Drive Thru History–speeds through the ancient world of the Bible, giving you a fast-paced encounter with the people, places, and events that have shaped our world and the Christian faith. Recommended family entertainment by The Dove Foundation, Stotts’ Drive Thru History series includes on-location explorations, plus loads of animations and narration that’s definitely ‘outside the classroom.’ From the ruins of Jericho, to the valley of Jezreel where God defeated the Midianites through Gideon, you will travel on a visually exciting journey through the land of the Bible, revealing the history and culture behind the stories of Scripture. The video also includes a PDF for each episode containing discussion questions designed for groups and families. Conquest, Canaanites, and the Holy City includes: Episode 1: Arrival in Jerusalem,2-min. History of Israel, conquest sites, Jericho, and Hazor Episode 2: Samaria, Shechem, and Shiloh Episode 3: Jezreel, Meggido, and Tel Dan

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Bible 101: What’s in the New Testament

Gospel of St. Matthew, Great Bible, 1539. (Gutenberg archives) source here

By James-Michael Smith from Bible 101: What’s in the New Testament – National methodist | Examiner.com.

Most people know certain phrases or passages in the New Testament, but don’t have a good bird’s-eye-view of the whole thing.  Here is a quick overview of the 27 documents which make up the NT:

1. The Gospels

Matthew – The Gospel of Matthew is focused on showing Jesus’ fulfillment of the OT prophecies and depictions of the Messiah. The author is believed to be the disciple, Matthew, who was a former tax-collector whom Jesus called to follow him. Matthew’s Gospel is divided into 5 sections by large discourses given by Jesus. Some believe this is Matthew’s subtle attempt to offer an NT parallel of the Torah, the 5 books of Moses, thus depicting Jesus as the new Moses. Matthew chs. 5-7 comprise the famous “Sermon on the Mount.” The book contains a striking inclusio – it begins with the nations (represented by the astrologers from the east) coming to worship the King of the Jews and ends with the King of the Jews sending His followers out into all the nations to spread the message of His Gospel (a.k.a. the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20).

Mark – Mark’s Gospel is the shortest of the 4 Gospels and many believe it was the first one written. The author is believed to be John Mark, who was Peter’s traveling companion. Mark is fast paced (note how many times the words “immediately” or “as soon as” appear throughout the book) and tells the basic message of Jesus. The most interesting feature of Mark’s Gospel is that it doesn’t include an account of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances to the disciples, as the other Gospels do. [Note: the KJV and other older translations include 16:9-20, however, this ending is not in the original and most reliable Greek manuscripts of Mark and are later additions. Most newer translations note this by offsetting the text in question in brackets or footnoting the information.]

Luke & Acts – The Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts comprise one 2-volume work written by one of Paul’s traveling companions, Luke. Luke’s account of Jesus’ life and the rise of the early church and spreading of the Gospel message throughout the Mediterranean world are filled with historical details that only an eyewitness would likely know. Luke 15 contains the parable known as the Prodigal Son, one of the most well-known of Jesus’ parables. Acts contains the story of Saul’s conversion and being renamed Paul by the resurrected Jesus.

John – John’s Gospel was written for one reason: “so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing, you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). John follows Jesus’ ministry, not chronologically like the others, but rather thematically. This Gospel is centered around 8 miracles performed by Jesus, six of which are only found in John. Chs. 14-17 comprise the “upper room discourse” where Jesus explains His purpose in being crucified and promises to send the Holy Spirit after His ascension. John’s Gospel, unlike the others, does not record a genealogy or birth narrative, a calling of the disciples, or parables.

2. Paul’s epistles

(Note: contrary to popular understanding, Paul’s letters are actually the earliest Christian documents and reflect the theology of the very earliest followers of Jesus.  One often hears that Paul came along and distorted the original message of Jesus and „invented” a new religion…however the historical facts do not support this theory at all.)

Romans – Paul’s letter to the church in Rome is seen as the most ‘theological’ of all his letters. Paul states his purpose in writing in the first chapter: “So I am eager to preach the good news to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek…” (Romans 1:15-16). The rest of the letter follows this thought as Paul shows how God has revealed Himself to Jews and Gentiles alike in order to free them from the bondage of Sin.

1Corinthians – The church in Corinth was experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit to a large degree. However, there were people in the church who were causing many problems because of their immaturity and sometimes, blatant sin. Paul writes to encourage the faithful, challenge the immature, and rebuke the sinful in Corinth. Most of the teachings on the gifts of the Spirit are found in this letter in chs. 12-14.

2Corinthians – Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth is a great example of Paul using rhetorical techniques such as irony and sarcasm to make his points. There were some among the Corinthians who were challenging Paul’s authority as an Apostle and claiming that because he was suffering so much, he surely couldn’t have divine approval. Paul uses heavy sarcasm in this letter, referring to himself repeatedly as “foolish” and his opponents as “super-apostles.”

Galatians – The churches in Galatia were wrestling with the issue of how non-Jews were to act in order to become Christians. There were some, known as the “Judaizers” who were pressuring Gentile believers to get circumcised and to obey the laws of the Torah before they could be considered true believers. Paul, himself a Pharisee of the highest pedigree, declares that to do this is to add something to what Jesus has already provided for salvation, and is therefore a mockery of the Gospel.

Ephesians – The phrase that dominates Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus is “in Him” (or ‘in Christ’/ ‘in the Lord’). Paul shares with the Ephesian believers that since they have come to faith and have united themselves with Jesus, they share in His glory and have become the body of Christ. This is why he stresses how important it is to remain unified and to continue to abide in Christ rather than live in sin.

Philippians – Paul writes to the church at Philippi to encourage them by using the example of Jesus coming to earth as a model for humility and self-sacrifice. Paul tells them that though he has achieved much from a human perspective, it is all worthless when compared to the value of knowing Jesus. He encourages them to continue to run the race with perseverance.

Colossians – Paul writes to the church at Colosse in order to give them a true understanding of who Jesus really was—God in the flesh! False teachers were a constant source of danger to the churches and Paul wants the Colossian Christians to be aware of them and to be able to detect errors when it comes to claims about Jesus. Paul concludes by giving practical advice for the believers in their city and encourages them in prayer.

1Thessalonians – The church at Thessalonica was a very young church so Paul writes to them in order to give them assurance and guidance. One important topic for them was the return of Jesus—when would it take place? What about people who died before he returned? These are some of the questions Paul sought to answer in this letter.

2Thessalonians – Paul writes his second letter to the Thessalonians in order to comfort them to challenge them that though Jesus would return at some point, they were not to become idle in waiting for Him. Some had neglected their normal day-to-day life using the excuse that they were simply waiting on Jesus who would return at any moment. Paul challenges them to live responsibly and to continue to persevere in spite of persecution or suffering.

1Timothy – Paul’s two letters to Timothy as well as his letter to Titus are commonly referred to as the “Pastoral Epistles” because Paul is writing to two church leaders. In 1 Timothy, Paul gives the young leader guidance on how to oversee the ministry of the churches.

2Timothy – This is one of Paul’s final letters. He writes from prison in Rome to encourage Timothy to continue the work of the Gospel. This is Paul’s farewell letter to Timothy and is filled with passion and urgency as Paul seeks to pass the torch to his young friend.

Titus – Titus was a leader of the churches on the island of Crete. Like his first letter to Timothy, Paul’s letter to Titus gives him practical advice on how to lead and equip the churches so that they will grow in faith and avoid false doctrines.

Philemon – The letter to Philemon is the shortest of Paul’s letters—only 1 chapter! In it, Paul seeks to convince Philemon, a member of the Colossian church, to forgive his slave Onesimus and accept him as a brother in Christ rather than a slave—an incredible statement for Paul to make in an age when slavery was a cultural norm. Onesimus had fled from Philemon and somehow met Paul. Paul evidently led Onesimus to the Lord and was now sending him back to Philemon along with this letter so that they would be reconciled and so that Philemon could show the church that the Gospel transcends social categories and institutions.

3. The general epistles

Hebrews – The letter to the Hebrews is the only letter in the NT whose authorship is completely unknown. Some have attributed it to Paul, but this is only speculation. However, the message of the letter is definitely Apostolic. The author of Hebrews seeks to show how Jesus was the fulfillment of the OT priesthood and sacrificial system. Hebrews contains some of the strongest warnings against turning away from the Gospel message in the NT.

James – James was Jesus’ half brother and the leader of the church in Jerusalem—he’s not to be confused with James the disciple who was killed early in the book of Acts (also, Catholics believe Jesus’ mother, Mary, remained a virgin her entire life, therefore they believe James to either be Joseph’s son from a previous marriage or one of Jesus’ cousins). James’ letter is written to the church everywhere as an encouragement to endure persecution and to put into practice what Christians say they believe. James’ focus is on internal integrity being the mark of the true Christian’s life.

1Peter – Peter, like James, writes to Christians scattered throughout the Roman empire for the purpose of encouraging them to persevere in their faith despite persecution and hardship. Peter emphasizes the necessity of being God’s holy people, just as Israel has always been called to be.

2Peter – Peter’s final letter was written shortly before his execution in Rome. In this letter he writes to all the churches in order to send them a final warning to be on the lookout for false teachers and to be filled with knowledge of God so that they can expose such errors as they arise. Peter ends the letter with a final call to the church to live holy lives while awaiting the final judgment and to grow in grace and knowledge of God and His Word.

1John – According to early church tradition, the Apostle John was the last surviving Apostle and the only one to not be martyred for his faith (he was exiled to the island of Patmos instead!). 1John is believed to be his letter to all Christians, urging them to abide in Jesus (as per Jesus’ teaching in ch.15 of his Gospel) and to live lives of holy devotion while avoiding the false teaching that would eventually become known as gnosticism (the idea that true fellowship with God can be attained through secret knowledge or gnosis in Greek). 1John has been called the Letter of Love in the NT because the word ‘love’ appears 52 times in just 5 chapters. There is some doubt as to whether the author of 1, 2 and 3John is the same as the author of John’s Gospel (or whether the author is in fact the Apostle John or another elder in the early church since he is not named in these letters. It is equally possible that the author is an early Apostle, such as Lazarus).

2John – 2 John, like 1John, was written to encourage Christians in love and to warn against false teachers. The “Elect Lady and her Children” in v.1 is most likely a title for the local church to whom John is writing.

3John – 3John is a letter from John to Gaius commending him for his support of traveling ministers who spread the Gospel throughout the Roman empire.

Jude – Jude was the brother of James (the head of the Jerusalem church) and half-brother of Jesus. His letter is written to all Christians for the purpose of reminding them to keep on their guard against heresy or false teachings. Jude warns false teachers and apostates of the judgment that awaits them, should they continue to oppose and distort the Gospel.

4. Apocalyptic epistle

[Note: „Apocalyptic” is a genre of literature that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the end of the world, as the English word has come to mean.  The term literally means „unveiling” or „revealing.”  But apocalyptic writings often do look, envision things having to do with the culmination of history.]

Revelation – The most well known (and most misunderstood) book of the NT, Revelation, was written by John while he was in exile on Patmos. John has a vision from God of Jesus’ message to the churches throughout the Roman empire and then a vision of all of redemptive history as it began unfolding when Jesus ascended to Heaven after His resurrection (chs.5ff). The genre of the book is Apocalyptic, whereby world events and spiritual realities are portrayed through symbols and epic stories. Though there have been many interpretations of Revelation, the main message can be summed as an encouragement to the early church to maintain their faithful witness in spite of persecution and temptation, and they will inherit the kingdom of God.

(6) Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones at the Evangelical Alliance 1966 by Geoff Thomas

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Read Part 1 here – a history

Read Part 2 here – 1962 Address by Lloyd-Jones

Read Part 3 here – An accounting from those who attended

Read Part 4 here – What the newspapers reported

Read Part 5 here – Lloyd-Jones on schism

From Affinity.org.uk via Reformation 21 blog

Then and Now: 1966-1996

by Geoff Thomas

Thirty years ago at the. Second National Assembly of Evangelicals organized by the Evangelical Alliance in London on October 19th, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones spoke for the last time for the EA on the theme ofEvangelical Unity in the course of which address he asked his audience: „What reasons have we for not coming together?…My friends, we are not only the guardians and custodians of the faith of the Bible, we are the modern representatives and successors of the glorious men who fought this same fight, the good fight of faith, in centuries past. ..I believe that God is calling upon us to maintain this ancient witness, not occasionally, not haphazardly, but always, and to put it to the people of this country”.1

Have Christians grown closer and more co-operative in these past three decades? What is the social and spiritual situation in the United Kingdom at the end of the 20th century?

Social conditions in the land

There are many improvements in the world which have taken place over the past thirty years which make us glad that we are living at this time. Treatment of cancer and other diseases has vastly improved. Britain has become a more cohesive middle-class nation and the continual strikes and class divisions of the 60s are a bad dream. There is a general political consensus with little messianic hopes in the effectiveness of the Whitehall and Brussels decision-makers. Apartheid has ended in South Africa, Communism has been largely discredited and the West has won the cold war. A world war or even a European conflict seems the most distant of possibilities. Britain has become a more prosperous nation. Chicken and turkey are the cheapest meats: supermarkets the size of aeroplane hangers are filled with the highest quality and range of foods. Communications not controlled by Caesar are accessible to every man. It is cheap to call the USA and. even Australia. Missionaries have access to the Internet. It has never been so inexpensive and convenient to travel internationally.

However, other social factors make us long for thirty years ago. There has taken place an unimaginable moral decline. Family life has taken a battering. One repeated statistic is that Britain has the highest divorce rate in Europe, while crime statistics are at an all time peak: we have more men in prison per head of population than any country in the European Community. There is a widespread fear of and familiarity with violence and burglary. The National Lottery has made 75% of the nation gamblers. Great Britain is awash with drugs. Alcoholism is a cruel widespread problem. Education has become a football kicked about by trendy politicians of both parties of government, and illiteracy has become an all-time high. Never was there such ignorance of the Bible and the Christian religion. Abortion on demand has resulted in the deaths of millions of healthy unborn children. The Northern Ireland situation is as unsolvable as ever. Militant homosexuals are tireless in their demands for the state’s recognition of their so-called marriages. Feminism encourages the gender destruction of male and female roles. Sport is harsher through commercialism, and sportsmen more superficial people. Christians are being persecuted and murdered in Cuba, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Laos, Vietnam, China and North Korea.

The strengths of Reformed evangelicalism

Where do true evangelical churches stand today? Consider their strengths: a steadiness in their congregational lives. One knows of some hundreds of churches throughout the British Isles and if one entered their meeting-places on a Sunday morning, one could be at peace and be led in worship by ministers who fear God and have led congregations to honour their Lord. One would hear the Word of God opened up and dealt with responsibly. Most university towns have a free grace pulpit for students to hear the whole Counsel of God. There also has been an extraordinary explosion of publishing so that no Christian bookshop can find room on its shelves to stock all the fine commentaries, biographies, literature on the world and life view, family life, evangelism, and children’s books that are now available. Consider those writers, all of whose books one would love to purchase and read, Sproul, MacArthur, Packer, Boice, Stott, Ferguson, Morris, Adams, Carson, Clowney, Chantry and Lloyd-Jones. Systematic theologies like those written by aBrakel, Turretin, Grudem (and soon the four volumes of Bavinck) have recently appeared. Definitive books like lain Murray’s two volumes of Dr Lloyd-Jones and Revival & Revivalism have filled a hole in the Church’s understanding of men and movements. Soli Deo Gloria are reprinting Puritan works as if there were a competition to print them with a dozen other publishers, and sometimes there is. There is a fascinating range of monthly, bi-monthly and quarterly periodicals. About twenty good conservative magazines and papers are being published in Britain. Cassettes of the best preaching are available from many sources.

There is a choice of Reformed theological seminaries in which to study. For example, theEvangelical Theological College of Wales in Bryntirion has more students than the sum of all the „theologs” in every other seminary in Wales. The single Roman Catholic Seminary in Wales in Aberystwyth has closed down from lack of vocations. America, especially, displays such vigorous growth of conservative seminaries. There is also a network of conferences, stable and well attended – The Carey Ministers’ Conference (January), The Banner of Truth Conference (March), The Caister FIEC (April), The Grace Assembly (May), The Bala Conference of the EMW Ministers (June), The Metropolitan School ofTheology (June), The Aberystwyth EMW Conferences (August), and the Westminster Conference for Historical Studies (December). Ministers especially know one another, and with some of them on an international conference circuit the work of God world-wide is better known today than at any period.

About all the above there is a proper modesty and unassumedness. These churches all realise that (apart from some congregations in the Hebrides) a commitment to the Reformed Faith does not generate large numbers. Deciding whether they would have many members and much money and read about themselves in the newspaper those churches have decided to promote a growing love for the preaching and application of the whole Counsel of God. They know they could not have both, and faithfulness is valued as more important than influence. Calvinistic piety is not flashy or obvious.

 The weaknesses of Reformed evangelicalism

One obvious difference between 1966 and 1996 is the figure of Dr Lloyd-Jones, or some equivalent preacher ofpreachers. Our greatest weakness is a lack of an awakening ministry in the nation. Where we deam ourselves strongest there, as ever, our impotence lies. This shows itselfin the narrow choice ofinspirational speakers for the big occasions, in the enterprise of church-planters here and abroad. The whole missionary enterprise has been hi-jacked by missionary societies so that men who go overseas never do what they do in this country, that is, preach in one local congregation in the language of the people and build up a church in loving the whole Counsel of God. Rather, virtually every missionary today administers or teaches local men how to pastor and preach. One consequence is the absence ofexpository preachers from the entire continent ofAfrica. They have been given no r<>le models.

Then there has been in the British Isles in our circles the bringing low of congregations, Christian institutions and leaders. Churches have split, notable men have fallen into flagrant sin, congregations which once loved the whole Counsel of God have collapsed under false teaching.

The charismaticization of churches

There are three types of churches men can make choice of today – if one dares to set aside the vigour of many Roman Catholic congregations. There are the charismatic congregations with their fascination with supposedly spontaneous and body-led ministries. Then, secondly, there is the Willow Creek model of focusing worship on unchurched Harry and Sally as so using singing groups and drama spots to make the man in the street feel unthreatened. Thirdly, there is unadorned and faithful Reformed worship.

Both the charismatic and the Willow Creek models have influenced Reformed congregations. David Tomlinson writes, „There is little doubt that Spring Harvest is one of the most influential factors in the charismaticization of evangelicalism.. .it would be difficult to overstate its significance in the present positive climate”.2 He adds that the March of Jesus „contributes to the overall sense of growing self-confidence among Evangelicals”.3 The umbrella under which all such things happen is the Evangelical Alliance. Clive Calver’s appointment to its leadership in 1983 „symbolized powerfully the way that the centre ground of evangelicalism was moving, for Calver is an unashamed Charismatic with New Church connections”.4

Even those churches which have not adopted pentecostal theology in the past thirty years have been affected liturgically. Nowhere more than in hymnody and conduct in worship is the gulf between Evangelicals of 1966 and 1996 displayed. In 1966 we were longing for some new hymn-books, and we had to wait a further ten years for Grace & Christian Hymns to appear. There was an indadequacy in the smaller evangelical collections such as Christian Praise and Hymns ofFaith. There was a conviction that the treasures of hymnody found in past writers ofdeeply experiential piety would have an abiding pastoral, theological and doxological contribution to the Church ofour age, and pervasive liberalism alone had been responsible for expunging them from denominational hymnbooks. So Grace Hymns appeared saying in its Preface: „The book contains many hymns which have fallen out of use but are worthy of a restored place in the Church’s praise”. And in the Preface of Christian Hymns the editors wrote: „There is the need for the rediscovery and restoration of a considerable number of hymns from times of revival and evangelical awakening…From this treasure-house it has been our privilege to draw extensively, for many of the greatest hymns of the Church come from this period”. The motivation in the choice of the hymns in these books was pervasive God-centredness. These two fine hymn books had barely appeared when a totally new mood entered evangelicalism, claiming that what was needed was not such hymns at all but rather contemporary hymns, necessarily wed to upbeat tunes, which the man in the street could identify with. And as almost every church seems to have more hymn-writers than preachers there was no stemming the flood of new hymns, tunes, and collections that swamped us. Spring Harvest became the proselytising agency for the new style of songs. If Grace & Christian Hymns had not appeared when they did what greater liturgical chaos would world-wide evangelicalism have been in, all in the name of „creativity” and contemporaneity in worship.

The new Christian

Ian Cotton has a new book entitled The Hallelujah Revolution: The Rise ofthe New Christians.5 He characterises the new Christian of 1996 as religiously Evangelical, instinctively irrational, politically liberal, economically socialist, theologically feminine (preferring a „gentle feminine Jesus over a macho, stern Jehovah”), vocationally „post- industrial”, experientially „relational”, and socially egalitarian (the new Christian is into mutual accountability groups).

Cotton describes this charismatic mindset thus: „We have the go-with-the flow attitude which De Bono characterized as ‘water logic’. Instead of reason and order, we have instinct, vision, the Holy Ghost. Instead of step-by-step linear progression, we have the all-at- once, the miraculous. Instead o f the verbal architecture o f the sermon, we have the preverbal instinctiveness of ‘tongues’. This is the distinctively modern end of the movement, where change, fluidity, uncertainty, and flexible boundaries are paramount”.6

Most such „new Christian” churches are outside of the WCC and official ecumenical structures, despising that movement for its political agenda and cerebral ethos. Certainly something more than opposition to schemes of unity dominated by modernists is needed to unite Evangelicals in contending for the faith. Perhaps that was one weakness of evangelical beliefs in 1966 – they gave more credence to the power of the Ecumenical Movement than it merited. For true unity there must be a passionate love for the whole Counsel of God, not just a fear of the counterfeit.

The British Evangelical Council grew with a desire to strengthen its culturally and theologically marginalised member denominations, to take conservative churches out of their isolation and absorption with their own problems and perspectives and give them an opportunity to contemplate the nation-wide mission of the Church of Jesus Christ. Its member churches are separatists but not isolationists.

Men most sympathetic with the BEC feel that the Evangelical Alliance is inconsistent on modernism. How could a body that is opposed to liberalism allow its officers and member churches to retain their membership in denominations dominated by modernism? How can preachers remain in a unity of fellowship in the EA? Do they not realise that such equivocation creates deep problems of friendship and trust to other preachers? That issue has not gone away in the past thirty years. It is not likely to do so in the next millenium.

John Stott famously opposed Dr Lloyd-Jones’ exhortation for churches to come together on the basis of historic Christianity, telling that EA conference, „Scripture is against him, the remnant was within the Church not outside it”. As he walked out of the meeting with Dr Lloyd-Jones he murmured apologetically that he was afraid that some of the Anglican clergy might have left their churches the next morning had he said nothing more. Stott spoke on behalfofthe vast majority ofAnglicans. They were staying in the Church of England. Yet when the issue of the ordination of women arose the Evangelicals were mute, even though that would mean 300 ministers would resign over the issue.7 The greatest difference in the Church of England in 1996 as compared to 1966 is the presence of 1,400 women priests, and a huge irretrievable lurch to liberalism.

Other evangelical Anglicans such as those centred on St Helen’s Bishopsgate, considered that „only human traditions were holding brothers and sisters [i.e. Anglicans and Free Churchmen] at arm’s length”.8 So Dick Lucas’s answer was to start yet another conference, the Evangelical Ministry Assembly „to repair some bridges of fellowship”. So, Anglicans who never met in fellowship with their non-conformist brethren (except when they were invited to speak) at any of the well-established conferences at Leicester, Bala, BEC, Carey, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Aberystwyth, Westminster, etc. (even when they live in close proximity to those places), began yet another conference „to tackle the sad division between Anglican and Free Church Ministers”.9 In other words, non- attendance at that conference indicated one was promoting division, and the extravagant claims were made: „God’s hand was on Dick’s brainchild and the conference has proved a major part of the evangelical year”.10

The British Evangelical Council

The critics of the BEC will point to its alleged diminished influence in 1996 compared to the late 60s. They may grumble that it has assumed the position of an „isolationist porcupine”, small, circumscribed and obscure instead of a vigorous and militant group calling Britain back to the old paths. Surely its pervasively Reformed identity has meant it has become marginal to what some might envy as the mold-breakers and trend-setters of ecclesiastical life in Britain. But the Word teaches us that God does not use the magnificent and mighty to achieve its ends, rather, as the apostle Paul wrote, God uses „jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power” is from Him only. In 1996 the evidence weakness of our human efforts and the all-sufficiency of God’s grace means that the Reformed churches have a precious message and a unique task testifying to everything God has revealed. We may not judge the next thirty years in the light of our present experience.

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