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Review

They have forgotten…

by Ruth E. Palgrave
January 2013 | Review by Roger Fay
  • Publisher: Unity in Truth Literature
  • ISBN: 978-0-9572578-0-1
  • Pages: 41
  • Price: 2.81

This is a booklet about the BEC and Affinity. In it, the author, Ruth Palgrave, quotes extensively from the late Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones about the need for Evangelicals to separate from unbiblical ecumenism. She describes in detail the robust stance taken by the BEC against the World Council of Churches’ ecumenism and references her many quotations.
Important aspects of the BEC’s vital evangelicalism continue today in its successor organisation, Affinity. Affinity is ably run and provides at least one helpful focus for evangelical unity within the UK. However, Miss Palgrave does not set out to affirm its positive contribution to the evangelical scene. Rather, and controversially, she tackles other issues, both uncomfortable and searching.
Her thesis is that Affinity has ‘forgotten’ its roots, since it is not making the robust stand against ecumenical error that the early BEC once did. She cites Affinity’s willingness to accommodate evangelical organisations that are still within mixed denominations as evidence of its forgetfulness.
Miss Palgrave will not be popular for raising these issues, but one has to admire her courage in doing so, as well as acknowledge the timeliness of her tract even if some of her implied solutions are unconvincing.
Affinity’s silence over what appears to be growing ecumenism within some of its long-standing constituent bodies shows that we really do have a problem. The denominational scene has moved on considerably since Dr Lloyd-Jones was called home in March 1981. If anything, it has deteriorated more.
However, there has also been the surprising emergence of a significant global Reformed Anglicanism, clearly at war with ecumenism, homosexuality and feminism. This fact alone should prevent those readers inclined to be instinctively sympathetic to the booklet’s warnings from indulging in knee-jerk reactions. The ecclesiastical scene today has some major differences from that of 1960-1985.
Calm discussion and deep loyalty to Scripture, rather than knee-jerk reactions, are also called for from those who feel challenged by authors who dare to write booklets like this. It is far preferable that evangelical churches honestly face up to uncomfortable questions than slide into the Rome-ward apostasy that Rev. E. J. Poole-Connor, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Rt Hon. Roland Lamb and others warned so strongly against.
Roger Fay
Ripon

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