Contention has bedeviled English evangelical scene these last two or three years, and we have lurched from one crisis to another. First, the Anglican/Methodist merger plan is still throwing up a lot of dust, leading to acrid exchanges and serious divisions in both churches.

Then the separatists wished a plague on all denominational houses and their guilty associations, and thereby flung many godly men into agony of heart and soul. On this, General Sir Arthur Smith had a pertinent word to last year’s National Assembly of Evangelicals at Westminster. “Whereas,” he said “those who favor separation and the principle of separation believe there is biblical authority for being guilty by association, there are others of equal sincerity who are convinced that Christians who refuse to mix with others … are guilty of non-association.” Checkmate.

Now the English evangelical body has been further torn apart by the publication of an explosive report compiled under the auspices of the Evangelical Alliance (On the Other Side, Scripture Union, 7s. 6d.). This is the outcome of a resolution passed at the 1966 National Assembly of Evangelicals sponsored by the London-based E.A. It called for a Commission on Evangelism that would “prayerfully consider and recommend the best means of reaching the unchurched masses at national, local and personal levels, bearing in mind the need to co-ordinate existing endeavours where possible and specifically to promote a new emphasis on personal evangelism.”

According to the chairman of the working group, Baptist pastor David Pawson, the report sets out to be “neither deliberately controversial, nor designed to please”; it is intended to say what is ...

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