Letters

The Development of German Pietism

Sir:      Gary E. Gilley’s ET essays on Pietism and subjective Christianity lack historical and theological objectivity. German Pietism was not rooted in Lutheranism but started in the 1660s in Reformed and formerly Reformed areas along the rivers Ems, Ruhr, Rhine and Lippe in Lower Germany; in Würtenberg and Alsace in Upper Germany and in Reformed Switzerland. The German church-based movement, pioneered by Theodor Undereyk, a Reformed pastor, was influenced by Swiss, Dutch, English, Scottish and North German Reformed teaching. Undereyk’s work spread from the Ruhr district into neighbouring countries, including Belgium whose persecuted Protestants were given asylum in Mülheim. This pietism was grounded in the… Full Article

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Letter on Scientology

English Churchman. Sir:      As a German citizen and avowed opponent of Scientology, I must protest against the totally misleading title ‘Scientology gets Respectable Image’ in the equally misleading article on that subject (No. 7721). It gives the impression that Scientology is respected in Germany where measures against the sect are stricter than in most other countries, including Britain and the USA. Neither the Osnabrücker Zeitung, nor Wolfgang Bosbach, nor Angela Merkel nor the Coalition Government view Scientology as respectable but see the movement as most dangerous. However, Bosbach’s words have been translated into ‘High Noon’ jargon and combined with outdated internet information from the middle nineties of last… Full Article

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Letters to an English Churchman – New Covenant Theology

     Letters to an English Churchman correspondent defending his own version of New Covenant Theology and attacking traditional Covenant theology as featured in the Covenant of Grace: Sir:      Ian Major’s rejection of objective criticism as ‘the wildest accusations’ illustrates his unfamiliarity with NCT’s current teaching. He says he is no theologian but NCT enthusiasts claim this status, so he should let them speak for themselves, especially on ‘Moral Law’. The NCT idea of a developing eschatological ‘Moral Law’ has become such an embarrassment to them, chiefly through Tom Wells’ weird ‘expositions’, that their ‘elders’ have scrapped the term altogether. Mr Major was asked to define his… Full Article

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Men Not Gods

     This letter was sent to the English Churchman to balance off a number of letters and articles claiming that the English Church of the Reformation had become corrupt and the rebellion of Oliver Cromwell and the Enlightenment philosophy of Samuel Rutherford put England back on the Reformation path.   Men of Two Natures      Sir: Both Oliver Cromwell and Samuel Rutherford were not gods but men of two natures. Today, Protestants are re-discovering Cromwell ‘warts and all’ and are beginning to realise that Rutherford had a similar verrucosis. Indeed, the political and religious carbuncles that Cromwell had were partly due to the contagious state of Rutherford’s own. Of course, Rutherford said many fine things, so did… Full Article

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Swedish ‘Friskolor’ Praised in the English Churchman

Sir:      As one who was a pupil, student and free school teacher in Sweden for many years, I find Civitas’ overview of the Swedish situation (issue 7743) out-of date, misrepresentative and unrealistic. The 1992 Reform Bill that Civitas mentions was open to abuses without legal control so it was re-reformed in 1994. Subsequent governments have not been able to make new laws fast enough to cope with the ever changing free school scene. This has caused Sweden’s leading newspapers Aftonblad and Dagens Nyheter as also Sveriges Radio to protest that the system is rotten and many politicians demand drastic closures.      The free competition Civitas praises is an illusion. The local community may support a Montessouri school or… Full Article

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Concerning Commonwealth Persecutions

Sir:      In allaying Mr Relf’s fears regarding my research expressed in his April 5th article, I shall keep to the evidence he provides. Bishop Neill, though no authority on this period, confirms the persecuting nature of the times. The Cromwellian definition of ‘malignants, delinquents and scandalous ministers’ was that they refused to accept the disestablishing and disbanding of the Episcopal Church of England and therefore were ousted. Remarks re the Triers, of whom two were Baptists, are neutral to the debate as the ungodly men mentioned referred to all parties. Nevertheless, the Triers placed party-line ministers in livings forced from their legal occupants. Plundered property was auctioned off. Alexander’s words… Full Article

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E. T. Clifford on Doddridge

Sir:      In his recent ET article defending saintly Doddridge against adverse criticism, Dr. Clifford ended by stating, “Even more at odds with the facts, Dr George Ella asserts that Doddridge’s Calvinism was ‘higher’ than Dr John Gill’s!” This is incorrect. My original ET article (Feb. 1995), including Doddridge’s balanced analysis of Calvinism, which I share, was radically shortened in the American version. Nevertheless, this version still shows clearly that I look upon Doddridge as being ‘higher’ in his Calvinism than Gill on one of the Five Points only, namely election and reprobation. Concerning allied points, I affirmed that Doddridge disagreed with Gill on justification, but not radically so, and that he… Full Article

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E C Applying Scripture Relevantly

Sir,      J.R. Brogan writes (Aug, 10/17), “There may be other readers who, like Dr. Ella, cannot see why ‘Rev. 18:1-4 cannot be lightly dismissed as irrelevant today’”. Those new to the debate will thus be led to believe that I lightly dismiss this Scriptural exhortation and find it irrelevant to the European problem. Mr. Brogan’s reference was to words that I wrote and meant and had a timely relevancy which I hoped could not be dismissed. I actually said:      “Why Mr Brogan refers to Rev. 18:1-4, BSE, floods, disasters and the foot and mouth disease in a letter arguing that Britain should cut the ropes which anchor them to Europe is beyond me. The Scripture verse refers to ‘all nations’ and I can assure him that… Full Article

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B O T Schleiermacher and British Liberalism

Sir:      Iain Murray’s excellent, necessarily selective, overview of evangelicalism’s ups and downs (Issues 455-6) reveals the need of more pan-European study of the growth of Liberalism. Schleiermacher, of Moravian background and heart, was very much influenced by British Latidudinarians from whom he gained his love of Natural Law as opposed to revealed law. British Methodism helped give him his emphasis on free-will and the religion of the heart. Schleiermacher combined these views in combating dead orthodoxy and state-controlled religion, affirming the necessity of personal, subjective reconciliation with God. This Liberal-Arminian ‘British Religion’ was seen as a patriotic bulwark against the tyranny of legalism under… Full Article

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E C Justification from Eternity

Sir:      Kenneth Harris’ recommendation of Rutherford’s insistence on justification in time contradicts the Anglican Reformers who spoke of a three-fold manifestation of justification i.e. from eternity, in the conscience and at glorification. So, too, Presbyterian Reformers such as Witsius outlined justification in nine stages from eternity into time. Our Reformers accounted the elect just before God in union with Christ from eternity by having Christ’s righteousness first imputed to them and then made conscious in them through God-given faith. This Tyndale taught in Pathway to the Holy Scriptures and Prologue to Romans. The Anglican Homily on Justification stresses that “justification is the office of God alone, and is not… Full Article

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