It is doubtful whether any gathering in the history of Anglican evangelicalism compares in size or scope with last month’s National Evangelical Anglican Congress at Keele University, England.
The congress began with an address by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey, and closed with issuance of a remarkable 10,000-word “statement” from the 1,000 delegates on theology, evangelism, ecumenism, and social affairs.
Previously, committee chairman John R. W. Stott had said the Keele assembly was “due to the remarkable development of evangelical life in the Church of England since the Second World War. During the last twenty years, evangelical Anglicans have grown in numbers, scholarship, cohesion, and confidence. This is a matter for thanksgiving to God. It is not to be viewed as the expansion of a sinister ‘party’ fired with fanatical ‘party spirit.’ On the contrary, it is the welcome increase within our national church of those who believe and love the biblical gospel, and who long to see the whole Church renewed in faith and life through submission to God’s Word and Spirit.”
In the same tone, Ramsey, not always seen as an ally by evangelicals, said, “I greet you all in the love and service of Christ, the Lord of all of us.” He then gave a thoroughly biblical exposition on the centrality of the Cross.
Congress delegates had received an advance copy of a symposium volume edited by J. I. Packer, warden of Latimer House, Oxford. In the packed program (fourteen full sessions in rather less than three days), each of the nine contributors had half an hour to form groundwork for the congress statement that was to come.
Packer presented the first case, denying with Stott that evangelicals are a divisive camp. But he said that in an ...1
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