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Tom Holland hits out at preachers who sound like ‘middle managers’

June 2020

Tom Holland
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Mainstream church leaders are fumbling their opportunity to preach to a world tormented by the coronavirus and are instead talking like middle managers, says Tom Holland writing in The Telegraph.

He said,  ‘The welfare state can provide care for the sick, but it cannot provide what Christianity, over the course of the past 2,000 years, has provided to so many countless people, and to such transformational effect: an explanation for the existence of suffering that offers the assurance as well that all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

‘Such a message, in a time of “noisome pestilence,” has historically proved a comforting one — and therefore, by rights, the sweep of coronavirus should present Christian leaders with an opportunity.

‘Yet it is one that all the mainstream churches in this country seem to be fumbling. Rather than speaking with the voice of prophecy, rather than explaining to a grieving and anxious people how the dead will rise into the blaze of eternal life, rather than proclaiming the miracles and mysteries that they uniquely exist to proclaim, church leaders seem to have opted instead to talk like middle managers.

‘Parroting the slogans of the Department of Health and Social Care may conceivably help save lives — but it seems unlikely to win many souls. If ever there were a time for the churches to wrestle with the questions that so tormented Job, a time of global pandemic would surely seem to be it.

‘If they are not to seem merely eccentric branch offices of the welfare state, they need to recapture their confidence, and take a risk: the risk of seeming odd.’