Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wycliffe Hall stuff

Wycliffe Hall has been in the news recently, and it's annoying for the following reasons:

1. A high proportion of the stuff that is being said is untrue and just straight malicious.

2. The effect that this is likely to have is to make the college more conservative in its intake, which is what no-one really wants. Well, there might be someone who wanted it, but I honestly can't think who that is unless it's someone who doesn't want less conservative theological students trained.

3. I really feel for the people caught up in the flak, especially for Richard Turnbull.

Here's Richard Turnbull's article about what he is trying to do at Wycliffe. And here's a quote from Chris Sugden (not at Wycliffe, but he seems to have a decent understanding of it) on the Sunday programme on Radio 4.

Richard Turnbull comes from parish ministry and wanted to change the culture of what had been really a sort of free-spirited academic collective in common with all Oxford colleges. I think it is a culture change situation in the institution which is being led by the Council which the chief executive is being asked to take through. The culture of Oxford academics is very conservative. And it is a culture change in the college that is obviously providing some degree of discomfort. That is the struggle.

There is a far greater division than those being suggested in the discussions at Wycliffe Hall. For the major division is between those who believe that the Gospel enables people to be transformed through the power of Christ, through his work and the presence of the Holy Spirit and those who in the end of the day do not believe that happens and that what we have is a sort of religiosity of the English people and life that has to be managed and its worst excesses curbed. People have said that are two religions currently in the Church of England and that is not very far from the truth.

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