Having been a reader of this magazine for several years, and then written for it for several more, it’s a strange sensation to sit down to write my first editorial as senior editor of Premier Christianity.
The first challenge is how to follow in the footsteps of the remarkably gifted Ruth Mawhinney. But what a joy to inherit a publication that is, thanks to her oversight, stronger than ever in terms of content, engagement and visual appeal.
I hope to continue the excellent work already established by Ruth and the rest of the team, but I’m always open to your suggestions. This magazine is uniquely positioned to host the ongoing conversations between the Church and society – and we want you to be part of it.
One such conversation concerns what it means to be an evangelical today. I happily call myself an evangelical, though that often comes with caveats depending on who I’m talking to (‘I’m not a fundamentalist, anti-science...’ etc). As the Evangelical Alliance has decided to remove Oasis – the charity founded by Steve Chalke – from membership, we explore in this edition the battle for the soul of evangelicalism.
Some in the Church are drawing a line in the sand and asking other Christians on which side they will choose to stand. As much as the EA applauds the extraordinary social work of Chalke and Oasis, it has decided that they cannot continue together when they are so out of step with each other on the theology of sexuality.
Evangelicals of every shade are being called upon to decide what their priorities are. Hard decisions will always entail a cost – either in the eyes of the public or in the eyes of the Church community to which you belong. This isn’t just about deciding what’s biblical, it’s about setting the agenda for the next decade, and whether society will conclude we are no longer relevant.
Christianity tends to shine brightest where it is making a tangible difference. With World Cup fever on its way we turn a spotlight on the darker side of Brazil and on the hope that Christ’s followers are bringing to the country of flamboyant football lovers.
And finally...weighty social and theological issues aside, there’s also a large dose of fun to be had this month. National treasure and (officially) the world’s funniest man, Tim Vine talks to us about his life and faith as Dave Rose tries to make him say something serious, and mainly fails.
I look forward to continuing to share conversations with you in the months to come.