Friday, April 20, 2007

marching bands of Manhattan

Adrian Warnock writes here about the Spring Harvest/Word Alive split. I think he's spot on. If you know me you'll probably be aware that i think the split is a Good Thing, but a Sad Thing. Good, because it shows that UCCF and keswick ministries are brave enough, bold enough and passionate enough to stand for Gospel truth and prepared to stand in line with the historic, orthodox view of what happened at the cross. And a sad thing because it's always sad when Christian leaders move away from the truth, always sad when something that has worked, as far as i know, well for both sides for a long time has to end.

There is strong anecdotal evidence that disputes of this nature can strengthen the church. Firstly because it makes people think hard and deep about what they believe, and hold their convictions more seriously...secondly because the witness it provides to a watching world. Our disagreements must be different to theirs. We must love over and above our disgreements. We must pray for those who fall away from what the Bible teaches about Gospel issues and part with them with broken hearts. But we must part with them. Thirdly, because it shows that UCCF and Keswick are keeping the main thing the main thing. What the Bible says about the Cross is not a small issue. The whole Bible points forward to it, and looks back at it. So we must get it right. UCCF and Keswick are not being small minded about a minor issue, indeed, as i think the speaker list for NWA shows, there is great room for much unity in diviersity in secondary issues. But this is not a secondary issue.

These could well be defining times for evangelicals. In one hundred years time, when someone sits down and writes the history of late twentieth and early twenty-first century evangelicalism the Spring Harvest/Word Alive split could be a defining moment. Could be.

The website for the new event is found here. I hope, as Paul does that Christians from a broad spectrum will be there. Charismatics, conservatives, conservative - charismatics (yep, tick) pentecostals, anglicans, baptists...whoever will be there, united by a love for Christ, and eagerness to learn of Him from His Word.

1 comment:

Pete Broadbent said...

Pete Broadbent (Spring Harvest Leadership Team) writes -

On behalf of Spring Harvest, I have issued the following statement in relation to UCCF's misleading press release.

Spring Harvest, Keswick and UCCF (the three partners in Word Alive) agreed to go their separate ways. The statement we produced at the time reads as follows:

“2007 will be the last year of Spring Harvest Word Alive. The constituent organisations – Keswick Ministries, UCCF and Spring Harvest – will be ending a partnership that has lasted 14 years, and have agreed to go their separate ways.

Word Alive was originally conceived as a distinctive event within Spring Harvest, drawing Christians from a more theologically conservative church background to Butlins for a week with a strong emphasis on expository bible teaching and a major input for students. The partnership has been a fruitful one and we thank God for the way he has worked through this event over the years.

Of late, it has been difficult to accommodate Word Alive as a separate week within the total mix, and after much discussion, the Spring Harvest Council of Management gave notice that Spring Harvest Word Alive could not continue beyond this year.

Spring Harvest wish the Word Alive partners well and we separate thanking God for the part the other plays in the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ in the UK today.”

Various people have since attempted to "spin" the reasons why we decided to go our separate ways for their own purposes. That's their decision. It's not where Spring Harvest are. Wallace Benn and Pete Broadbent stood on a public platform at Spring Harvest Word Alive, wished our respective events well, prayed for each other, and departed on the best of terms. The statement made jointly by the two of us on behalf of Spring Harvest Word Alive criticising Jeffrey John's inflammatory broadcast indicates that there is no way that anyone can represent Spring Harvest as being anywhere other than the orthodox biblical stance on the atonement.

It’s terribly sad that UCCF have now come out with an official statement that simply isn’t true to what actually took place. I don’t want to get into a public row with UCCF, whose ministry among students I support. But I dispute most of what is contained in the statement as being either misunderstanding (wilful or otherwise) or total fabrication. I could hope that they would withdraw their statement and hold their peace. They seem to want to define themselves over against Spring Harvest, which I regret. We stand for the same faith and the same gospel.