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All articles in category Historical

October 2017
Articles > Historical

The Scottish Reformation — a work of God’s grace

The Reformation in Scotland in the sixteenth century was essentially a rediscovery of grace and a notable work of the Holy Spirit in the nation. Invaluable in providing a clear understanding of the ideals of the Reformers in doctrine, church order and practice are documents associated with the Scottish Reformation, especially The Scots Confession of 1560 and the First Book of Discipline (1560). Also of significance are the Book of Common Order (‘John Knox’s liturgy’) (1564), and the influential Geneva Bible (1560). All these are clear indicators, in their own right, of a movement of grace in Reformation times. What evidences are there that the...

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October 2017
Articles > Historical

William Tyndale: the man who gave England her Bible

William Tyndale came from Gloucestershire, from the Vale of Berkeley, probably from Slimbridge, and the best estimates suggest that he was born in 1494. Educated at Oxford, at Magdalen Hall, he returned to his native county to become tutor to the two sons of Sir John Walsh, at Little Sodbury Manor, in 1522. His duties were not particularly onerous, as he had ample opportunity to preach in the neighbouring villages and it was partly this activity that helped to form a clear conviction in his mind that his efforts were largely counter-productive, as long as the common people did not have the Scriptures available in...

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October 2017
Articles > Historical

The Reformation in Europe

It is difficult today to grasp the psychic trauma caused by the Reformation in sixteenth century Europe. As well as a religious renewal, it had profound historical, social and cultural effects. The Reformation’s benefits are largely ignored by our contemporaries, who are mesmerised by ‘latest is best’ ideology and technical progress, invariably traced back to humanism and the Enlightenment two centuries later. While Roman Catholic interpretation of the Reformation often considers it to be a mistake and the first step on the slippery slope to the French Revolution (without Calvin there would have been no Voltaire!), recent secularisation theories tend to see it as the...

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October 2017
Articles > Historical

The Reformation in England

Inevitably, the debate about indulgences raised by Martin Luther’s protest rapidly became one about the personal understanding of Scripture, over against the church’s claim to be Scripture’s final and authoritative interpreter. The debate became furious and could not be contained within Germany, but widened, helped by the widespread use of Latin in scholarly circles across western Europe. In many respects, England, the southern half of an off-shore island with a language not generally known among its neighbours, did not appear to be promising soil for Luther’s new teaching. England was not a powerful force in Continental politics. Its young king, Henry VIII, was a loyal...

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September 2017
Articles > Historical

John Wesley and music

It comes as almost a shock to read in John Wesley’s Journal that this earnest minister was not above very occasionally attending a concert or, rather more often, looking over large estates of the kind you find in today’s National Trust. Clearly, Wesley not only regarded all the world as his parish, but saw the created order as God’s providential gift to mankind. Yet, after his conversion to Christ, he never obsessed about culture in the way that some modern evangelicals have. Although aware of the sacred oratorios of his own day and acknowledging God might, on occasion, use such to convey biblical truth to...

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September 2017
Articles > Historical

Evangelicalism in Northern Ireland, 1967–2017

Visiting tourists and the Province’s 1.8 million citizens enjoy easy access to a rugged coast-line, with breathtaking beaches, fresh-water lakes and rivers that provide great fishing for the keen angler. Northern Ireland (NI) has some of the best-preserved castles and ancient forts, surrounded by myths and legends from ancient times, and a rich fertile countryside that can really boast of ‘forty shades of green’. In spite of the economic downturn in 2007, the capital city, Belfast, is buzzing. It was named recently in the Guardian and Observer travel awards as the best city to visit in the UK. Its once derelict sites are now bustling...

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September 2017
Articles > Historical > Uncategorised

Evangelicalism in Wales, 1967–2017

The last 50 years have been years of change, both for Wales as a nation and for its evangelical witness. Its geography, culture, languages and politics have always been distinctive. Almost three million people live in this beautiful part of the United Kingdom and they speak two official languages, Welsh and English. However, Wales has changed and is still changing. Its coal mines and much of its heavy industry have disappeared. Its devolved government meets in a new parliament building in Cardiff. And its religious life has changed. Wales is a country of chapels, hundreds of them across the length and breadth of the land,...

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September 2017
Articles > Historical

Evangelicalism in Scotland, 1967-2017

The state of evangelicalism in Scotland in 2017 reveals a much more complicated picture than 1967. At that time there were several main denominations of considerable strength. On the Presbyterian side there were the Church of Scotland, along with the United Free Church of Scotland, Free Church of Scotland, and Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, with a small Reformed Presbyterian Church. On the independent scene there were the Baptist Union, Congregational Union, Methodists and Brethren Assemblies. Some were solidly evangelical, others had a percentage of such in their midst. But in the last 30 years in particular there has been a marked change in the...

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