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The Global Diffusion of Evangelicalism by Brian Stanley, Professor of World Christianity at the University of Edinburgh is the latest volume (2013) in the IVP series, “History of Evangelicalism”. The subtitle is “The Age of Billy Graham and John Stott”.
In fewer than six pages (of 283), he looks at “Evangelicals and Homosexuality”. He notes the public launching of Evangelicals Concerned during a National Association of Evangelicals convention, though he says EC’s meeting “was provocatively held over the street from the [NAE] conference”. But, as an NAE member, Blair thought it prudent to meet across the street, assuming the NAE had more clout at its Shoreham Hotel than it had at our Sheraton. Stanley rightly differentiates EC from MCC, understanding that MCC “maintained only sporadic connections with the evangelical community”. But he’s confused in saying that EC “bylaws” state that homosexuality is “part of God’s created order”. No such anachronism was ever the view of Evangelicals Concerned, Inc.
Stanley’s take on Paul Jewett’s view of homosexuality is misleading. Granting only that Jewett allowed that, “within the fallen estate of humanity the legitimacy of committed same-sex relationships may on occasion have to be conceded as the lesser of two evils” hardly reflects Jewett’s strong support of EC. Even in the 1970s, he called Blair’s work on homosexuality “the most informative and balanced thing on the subject anywhere”. In the early ‘80s he wrote to Blair: “You have done some really pioneering work. I trust you get some positive response and particularly that you will be able to help many escape the terrible bind that they have been forced into.” On Blair’s critique of “ex-gay” claims, Jewett wrote: “I read it and had my admiration renewed for your control of such detailed material. … It is surely very informative – and persuasive!” On Blair’s Sunshine and Rainfall for All, Jewett wrote: “I think it makes a very helpful point which may ease some tender consciences over the bridge to tolerance and openness.” When Jewett died, his widow wrote to Blair: “Paul has always admired you and your work as well as your publication, Review. So I feel that you are my friend, too.”
EC’s 2014 Fall Weekend at Ocean Grove will be October 3-5. We’ll be remembering Matthew Henry, George Whitefield, William Romaine and James Hervey on their 300th anniversaries and viewing their hand-written commentary and letters and other items related to them. On this 200th “Star Spangled Banner” anniversary, we’ll also see a handwritten letter of Francis Scott Key about his Sunday School. Ralph Blair will do a lecture on their lives and significance and give three sermons on a neglected aspect of Christ’s identity. There’ll be time to enjoy the seaside, our gourmet meals, homemade ice cream and connecting with friends old and new. Sign up at www.ecinc.org. Read more →