Saturday, 29 February 2020

Searching questions in
the latest ‘Search’ about
conservative evangelicals

Patrick Comerford

The ‘Church of Ireland notes’ in The Irish Times today open with the following paragraphs:

The Spring edition of the Church of Ireland journal, Search, edited by Canon Ginnie Kennerley, has been published.

With the Lambeth Conference coming up this summer and anxieties about the coherence of the Anglican Communion on the rise, some respectful and good-humoured dialogue is called for, along with a modicum of self-criticism. An attempt to model this is offered by Canon Patrick Comerford and the Ven David Huss, sharing and comparing different views of what it means to be both conservative and evangelical. Readers are invited to ponder and respond – and the Revd Earl Storey’s reflection on the Hard Gospel project of 2005-2009, which follows, may help them to do so.

The other nagging issue is the growing threat to life on earth of the ‘civilisation’ we have developed. Apocalyptic is a word we use increasingly to describe this nightmare; but Jewish apocalyptic writing was intended to bring comfort – an assurance that beyond present and future tribulations God would bring joyous deliverance. Dr Margaret Daly-Denton considers how we should understand such writing today. Not unconnected with these concerns, is Prof Benjamin Wold’s exploration of the Jewish background to the petition Lead us not into temptation in the Lord’s Prayer. Is Pope Francis right that it gives a misleading view of God in our time?

In her Editorial in the Spring 2020 edition of Search (Vol 43 No 1), the Editor, the Revd Canon Dr Ginnie Kennerley, writes in similar terms:

‘With the Lambeth Conference coming up this summer and anxieties about the coherence of the Anglican Communion on the rise, some respectful and good-humoured dialogue is called for, along with a modicum of self-criticism. An attempt to model this is offered by the first two contributors of this issue, Patrick Comerford and David Huss, sharing and comparing different views of what it means to be both ‘conservative’ and ‘evangelical’. Readers are invited to ponder and respond – and Earl Storey’s reflection on the Hard Gospel project of 2005-2009, which follows, may help them to do so.

‘The other nagging issue is the growing threat to life on earth of the ‘civilisation’ we have developed. ‘Apocalyptic’ is a word we use increasingly to describe this nightmare; but Jewish ‘apocalyptic’ writing was intended to bring comfort – an assurance that beyond present and future tribulations God would bring joyous deliverance. Margaret Daly-Denton in this issue considers how we should understand such writing today. Not unconnected with these concerns, is Benjamin Wold’s exploration of the Jewish background to the petition ‘Lead us not into temptation’ in the Lord’s Prayer. Is Pope Francis right that it gives a misleading view of God in our time?

‘Returning to Search’s recent concern with the development of effective ministry today, we look in this issue at a recent initiative, that of ‘Messy Church’, which shows huge promise, and consider how best to renew a time-honoured but problematic institution, that of Confirmation. Alistair Doyle, regional co-ordinator of Messy Church for Leinster, considers the former, while Canon Cecil Hyland (a one-time C of I youth officer!) fields an experienced team to ponder the confirmation dilemma.

‘The issue continues with a reflection on prayer and contemplation by N.I. religious studies teacher Nigel Martin and the latest in our Liturgica series by liturgist Professor Bryan D Spinks. It concludes with Book Reviews by a distinguished team gathered by reviews editor Raymond Refaussé.

This being the first issue of 2020, may I beg readers to renew their subscriptions for this year if they have not yet done so. This will be much appreciated by our treasurer and subscriptions manager, Michael Denton. My thanks to all concerned for help with this issue.’



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