Let me lay something on you:
We do in fact live in an age of revolution and experiment; unless a thing is new, it has little or no appeal. We must never put our trust in novelty as a substitute for truth: that would be “another Gospel”, but not an authentic Gospel. That caution is necessary; but then it is right to add that Evangelicals have a solemn duty to take their place in the van of all those creative areas of new work and experiment today. They should stand out in the forefront of true theology, both in scholarship and in authorship, with a clear-cut contribution to the fields of education and literature. They should be more active than ever in evangelism and in missionary concern, all unafraid in exploring new ways of true spiritual outreach to the unchurched and the non-Christian. They should honestly recognize the value of common prayer in the forms of public worship and the need for liturgical relatedness to the daily affairs of a modern congregation. They should examine existing structures with a view to replacing what is outmoded and improving what is effective, while never losing sight of the great need for pastoral compassion in the Name of Christ for all who are lost or out of the way. The Church of England has never been a mere spiritual ghetto: its doors should stand open so that all who are in need may come in. They should face the moral questions of a permissive society and the social problems of an affluent country with an intelligent application of the teaching of the Bible. They should clear their minds on the great issues of church affairs such as the ecumenical movement or the organic reunion of now independent Denominations. These are only some of the needs which call for wise judgement or for imaginative response today.
How’s that for a call for a creative evangelical response to contemporary challenges?
It’s delightfully expansive — taking in academic engagement, evangelism, world (and home) mission, liturgical revision, strategy and structural reform, and pastoral care.
It’s from the Presidential Address to Sydney Synod in 1980(!) by Archbishop Marcus Loane — God rest him. But it feels so fresh, doesn’t it?
I give it a hearty ‘Amen’!