Evangelicals Wow Passes on Passion

Billy Graham Continues Crusade at 86It emerged this week that the widely read and influential monthly paper, trusted by conservative and reformed evangelicals around the UK, has decided to live up to the stereotype of its readerships and called for an end to passion. Confusion ensued after some readers thought the article referred to the real historical crucifixion of Christ.

The paper responded immediately to the claims that they are proposing heresy, by putting out a statement denying that the word ‘passion’ refers to anything Christ was involved with, including his death on the cross (as it does in the Roman Catholic tradition). They confirmed the article referred to the “dangerous behaviour humans engage with when they allow their emotions to control their actions, which can lead to slips in the faith and ultimately heresy.”

Despite what might be misconstrued as a passionate sounding name, Evangelicals Wow wants its readers to ‘pass’ on passion. In an article promoting evangelistic tent meetings this Lenten season all across the country, subtle signs of the need for passionlessness were hinted at. According to the article, church leaders such as Al Stuartson and Tico Rice are worried that the events might become bacchanalian in nature, reminiscent of the large stadium missions conducted by Billy Graham.

Graham, who is said to have said: “God did not invent denominations, man did,” has been accused of the heresy of universalism. Many believe that statements such as these are due to his over reliance on love and lack of clear thinking.

“We believe that Billy Graham was a man for his time, though we disagree with his methodology and conclusion. Culture has moved on. What is called for now is apologetics to take centre stage. We need Christians to be able to argue atheists into the ground and we can only do that if we discard our emotions and embrace the cold steel of reason.” said Rice, who also confirmed that the proper use of reason will guard Christians against lapsing into heresy.

One lay person responded to the article by saying: “We understand that reason and arguments are important, but sometimes it is so hard to control the elation and joy at being involved in a tent meeting. One or two of us have even invited non-Christians friends!”

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11 Responses to Evangelicals Wow Passes on Passion

  1. Tom Stanbury says:

    Laurie,

    I don’t get the gripe. Is passion or lack of it the problem? Did the reformation go too far not far enough?

    What is it with tents and human beings?

    Your christian friend,

    Tom

    • Lauri Moyle says:

      Hi Tom. No Gripe. The unfortunately titled article in Evangelicals Now (linked to at the beginning of this piece ‘Evangelicals pass on passion’) was the butt of my joke, nothing else. Though I must say that British evangelicalism of the reformed and traditional type is very much about passionlessness so I don’t feel thats unfair to make fun of. I mean reason and modernity, lack of lifting hands and dancing around… You know.

      Its also not at all a grip against ‘a passion for life’, which is a good little doo-zy to get people passionate about Jesus.

  2. Lauri Moyle says:

    Also heard that Keller talked about the three levels people need to be engage in if they are to come to Christ, one of which was the emotional level and another the existential. Good stuff. I also heard that “Tico Rice” said he sometimes gets called Rico Tice and that he doesn’t like it. I had no idea that was the case and if he by chance read my piece above (I doubt he did) than my sincere apologies to him. Love you, Tico!

  3. Lauri Moyle says:

    On reflexion Tom, I may have misunderstood your intentions. Wiseacre!

  4. Tom Stanbury says:

    I wasn’t trying to be smart just provoke a response to get under the post a bit more. It did read like a subversive gripe.

    There is a lot there to digest about evangelical ways.
    Sometimes I quite enjoy the rigidity of British (post war) reformed christianity. The lack of passion could perhaps be explained by British boarding school and no hugs from daddy more than anything else. The post war anglican evangelical leaders have nearly all been british public school boys which has its strengths but means they are fairly clenched!

    ‘God did not invent denominations, man did’
    I have never bought that statement or ecumenicalism for that matter. It is just post war people scared of disunity. And I guess they had a lot to be scared about.
    Presumably God knew we humans wouldn’t all agree and can handle it. Does God want every christian to live and practice their faith in the same way? Therefore perhaps division, denominations are Gods idea.

  5. Lauri Moyle says:

    Tom this piece was not meant to be about gripe. Its a hedge-pedge of things, isn’t very precise and should not be taken seriously.

    I agree that passionlessness might come from the boarding school modernism, that is classically English. That isn’t an excuse for it either though.

    As for denominations. I think they are a necessary evil, and some might argue have kept the US in the “game” despite modernity and secularisation because of the competition theory in relation to economics. If you have a broad selection of different “products” on offer, then competition will mean that people will be drawn to the ever more quality product. Its a somewhat cynical analysis of what actually happens when you have pastors competing for congregants…

    Ecumenisms is often washy-wishy. I agree. I don’t have a problem making fun of that either. But often I think we (our tradition and background) shy away from working with people who don’t think as we think. That is a tragedy and a travesty. And the politiking that goes on with some denominations (even about simple things like running a Christian book shop in the same village through volunteer work) is worthy of a smack with a raw piece of bacon.

  6. Lauri Moyle says:

    And I would also add to the above that I doubt denominations will exist in heavon. So, Billy had an incling of the future we hope and anticipate. There is nothing wrong with that. Not enough hope in our culture, not enough big thinking…

  7. Tom Stanbury says:

    I apologise for taking it seriously. It is the problem with blogs. If said in conversation it would be all over in 5 mins with a lot laughter along the way. Maybe it isn’t a gripe but you are making a point. I am not even necessarily disagreeing.

    In your original post in one guise you were mocking the rationalism of Tico but then the final para mocking the emotionalism of ‘tent revivalism’. You fail to mock Keller, of which I am fan bought his books and given away to friends. The Keller college professor manner works for the degree educated. He makes people feel smart and savvy.

    A feature of the celeb culture that permeates christendom aswell, ‘My christian leader is intellectually satisfying and culturally on it’. For the record I am not saying Keller encourages this himself. I can see he doesn’t in his tone and demeanor.

    Of course there won’t be division and denominations in the new creation we will all be too busy doing the right thing. On my facebook page under my profile it says ‘Mere Christian’ for religion.

    Don’t know about economic theory and christianity in the US but Jesus did promise to build his church. And doubt he had competition theory in mind.

    I do get a bit worried about pastors applying business theory to churches. Sure learn from outside the church- a phrase I use is the insufficiency of scripture. Guaranteed to scare any reformed pastor. What I mean by it is there are some things you can’t learn from the bible because it is simple not covered.

    For the record I like your blog and this dialogue.

  8. Lauri Moyle says:

    No problems, Tom. I’m learning how to write satire and no doubt will make mistakes in clarity for the future.

    I have never heard Rico Tice or Al Stewart so I cannot comment on whether I like them or not, but the post was not at all about them. The EN article mentioned them and I needed to fill two quotes and happened not to pick Keller. Maybe a sin of omission, who knows. 😉

    The last para. was a contrast to the previous one. While I think a lack of in-touch emotions permeates segments of the British church I also think that in other parts of the church, particularly in the lay end of things that’s not a problem. Hence the tension between “knowing that we shouldn’t be so excited” and the excitement itself.

    I think the final line also expresses and to some extent defuses the probable outcome of some of the events that we’ll be a part of this week, namely that there will be more people from churches at the events than nonchurched people… And though that’s all right it is sort of incongruous… But it is a bit funny, especially within the context of the perceived anxiety some people have in inviting nonchurched friends.

  9. Tom Stanbury says:

    The International cuisine evening for the women last night was inspired. St Nicks looked and smelt amazing.
    A fun evening was had by all including those men who helped. I didn’t hear the talk. So I trust in some way the event engaged the non christians with Christ by meeting their personal, intellectual and social needs in some small way.

    I wish I had realised today was St Patricks Day as I would have suggested we drink Guiness whilst considering the life of this christian missionary to Ireland, rather than the Men eat curry tonight.

    Yes the final sentence makes sense.

    The reason quotes didn’t come from Keller is because I could haven’t have imagined him saying the quotes but could Rico Tice and Al Stewart.

  10. Tom Stanbury says:

    Final sentence meant to say couldn’t imagine Keller saying what Tico did.

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