I don’t often comment on religious matters; it’s been some time since I could describe myself as “evangelical” and I’ve only rarely darkened the door of my local church since I became a minister. But a comment I just heard on BBC 24 has tweaked my interest. Supporters of the liberal wing of the Anglican church are warning their more evangelical brethren that their opposition to gay marriage and women priests is in danger of making the church irrelevant to 21st century society, and that consequently, the church will wither.
I make no value judgment on this, but in my experience, it’s evangelical churches, the ones who actually stand up for what they believe (and for what they believe the Bible says) and who are often in direct conflict with current social values, which are growing; the “mainstream” church seems to be the one withering on the vine.
I used to be a member of Queens Park Baptist Church whose evangelicalism and literal interpretation of the Bible clearly had some attractiveness – it grew in membership to the extent that it had to purchase a new building and split the congregation so that people would have somewhere to sit! My old friend, David McCarthy, who’s the vicar over at St Silas in Glasgow’s west end, and who writes the Gadegtvicar blog, is an authority on this.