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Veteran Guardian columnist endorses “organisational models” of evangelical Christianity

NEWS | Tess Holgate
Wednesday 16 September 2015

The Guardian has just published a ringing endorsement of evangelical Christianity.

Veteran Guardian columnist George Monbiot, a darling of Britain’s left says, “Here [in evangelical Christianity] we find movements that are highly diverse in terms of both ethnicity and class. Many of their members are prepared to devote, with apparent joy and limitless persistence, all their free hours to the cause. They will weather almost any humiliation and rebuff in their attempts to reach apathetic, hostile people, and they sometimes succeed. In some places – Brazil in particular – they have transformed the life of the nation, often in ways I find disconcerting.”

The British political scene is as dramatic as Australia’s with the election of left-winger Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of the Labour Party. The Labour Party is dealing with the aftermath of electing a new leader that takes it further left than even Ed Miliband had taken them at the last election. So the party is coping with a newly adopted radical ideology, and that’s where the comparison with evangelicalism comes in. As Monbiot says, “The tumult of ideas, so inspiring in the early days, leads to confusion and dissipation … Wars of attrition fought by the police grind hope into dust. People become burnt out and disillusioned. A few months later a new enthusiasm takes hold, and we repeat the pattern, apparently gaining little from experience.”

He follows this with some unexpected advice: look to the “brilliant organisational models” of evangelical Christians.

“Evangelism is positive and propositional (to evangelise is to bring good news). You cannot achieve lasting change unless you set the agenda, rather than responding to that of your opponents. They welcome everyone – but in particular the unconverted. Instead of anathematising difference, doubt and hesitation, they explain and normalise these responses as steps within a journey to belief.”

Read the whole article here.

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