“There is no substitute for time spent together”

  • In NEWS
  • October 17, 2013
“There is no substitute for time spent together”
Steve Clifford, director of the EA in the United Kingdom, pleaded for unity in the body of Christ. Excerpt: ”… About 80 different denominations are members of the Evangelical Alliance in the UK, from Bishops of the Church of England right through to Pentecostals and independent churches, the whole spectrum. Relationships are the key. There is a history in the UK, particularly in the last 30, 40 years where Evangelical Christians have crossed both denominational and theological lines. Although there are some conservative Evangelicals that would feel that we are too liberal and there are probably some radical Evangelicals that would feel that we are too conservative, in the main we managed to hold together both the radical and the conservative wing. The key, I think, is relationship. And there is no substitute for time spent together, for eating together, forums of discussion, fellowship… A great deal of the time I take is for building relationships with key influential leaders, those who are leading churches, denominational networks and organisations. We have lots of different forums that bring people together – dance floors (a metaphor for EA brought up by Gen. Secretary Thomas Bucher; ed.). My role is to nurture what happens on the dance floor. And one of the phrases we use is: how can we disagree agreeably? We have not been very good at doing that. And that is where the relational commitments help us. Over the years, we Evangelicals have given so much time to the EEA Statement of Faith. If we focus on the Statement only, it will just divide us. When the founding assembly of the Evangelical Alliance took place in 1846, they spent more time talking about their relationships: How were they going to disagree with each other and handle disagreement. Over the years, that is what we have done rather badly. So now we really highlight relational commitments.”  

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