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January 13, 2008


Jim Gordon

Hi Andy,what is it about Evangelicalism that makes evangelical culture so amenable to Consumerism? Has it something to do with reducing the Gospel to a packaged presentation and this linked to the 'needs needing to be met' syndrome? And is it in any way linked to evnagelicals themselves placing 'mission' at the centre of the church's life, so that it becomes an end we pursue rather than a divine means to the coming of the Kingdom? I'm fascinated that Rob Warner and his betes noirs, Don Carson and David Wells, agree on the corrosive effects of consumerism on Evangelical principles and practices. These are merely whimsical wonderings at the end of a longish day!


"The projected or desire growth of the Evangelical Alliance and Spring Harvest declined towards the end of the 90s and more recently so has Alpha. This due in part to the increase in competition from other festivals (New Wine, Stoneleigh, Easter People, Keswick, Greenbelt, etc), other Evangelical groups (Reform, Fulcrum), other introduction to Christianity courses (Y-course, Christianity Explored, Emmaus, Essence)."

I think this paints a slightly incorrect picture...

Festivals - New Wine, Easter People, and Stoneleigh did emerge as events and may have taken numbers away from Spring Harvest. However, all three are denominational (Anglican, Methodist, and New Frontiers respectively) and hence attracted support from their associated churches, which obviously preferred to send people to their own event. However, Easter People and Stoneleigh have now ceased (and I think it's fair to say that lack of attendance was not a reason in both cases). Greenbelt and Keswick both pre-date Spring Harvest and have had their own sets of ups and downs.

Organisations - Reform and Fulcrum are both (as I understand) Anglican organisations (and one could possibly say pressure groups), so I'm not sure that they are directly equivalent to the EA.

Courses - a more accurate view is that other courses because some people disagreed with the theological approach of Alpha yet saw how popular and successful it had become.

It may well be that numerically, the EA, Spring Harvest, and Alpha have declined, but I think the analysis is maybe a bit more complex that you presented.

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