Thursday, August 3, 2017

rupebabloggen: Vart är Frälsningsarmén på väg?

Where is the Army heading?
         It is interesting to analyze Christian denominations and their movements, to observe how the pendulum swings in different directions. An interesting phenomenon is the Evangelical Free Church, and its genesis, the Örebro Mission, the Holiness Alliance, and not to forget, the Free Baptists.
            The denomination has maintained a position aligning itself at a free-church mid point, which has always been the case in the Örebro Mission tradition. A bit less radical and fundamentalist than the Pentecostals, but a clear anti-response to older denominations and the Swedish church in particular; more pentecostal-sensitive and with conservative Bible believers, and notably more evangelistic than the Missionary Alliance and Swedish churches. 
            The traditional denominational maps are somewhat overshadowed, but still exist in the culture and on the walls. 
            Within the EFK in the last 15 years, the following tensions have been noted: Bible vision - more liberally oriented, evangelical openess versus a more conservative bible vision, more obvious  and consistently evangelical. 
            The view of charismaticism - more problematic towards charismatic Christianity, versus more openness and positive faith focusing on the indwelling of the Spirit and gifts of the Spirit, more receptive to new movements such as the faith movement, Vineyard, Hillsong, etc. 
            A third tension concerns the vision of mission and evangelism; more focus on social impact versus the view on the effect of salvation, repentance and congregational foundations. 
            A fourth area could be more focus on established activities, traditional liturgy, versus focus on establishing parishes, and finding new radical forms for founding congregations. 
            This could be classified as a kind of left vs. right comparison. To the left is a more liberal Bible view, more problematic towards charismaticism, a focus on Christian social work.
            These echelons are always simplifications. One can be a very social radical and believe in and practice conservative biblical views and charismatic Christianity. However, the point is there are those who emphasize the social action at the expense of charismatic and conservative bible views. 
            If you are to survive in a leadership position in the denomination as mission director or chairman of the board, you should place yourself  somewhere in the middle of these fractions, and alternatively be very low-key so that you can not be ascribed to one or more compartments. Otherwise you will be in the hot seat!. I have some experience in this area. 
            These debates have barely caught public interest, they are too subtle for this. The debate about the Gothenburg Assembly Saron's more liberal attitude to lifestyle and community membership issues that surfaced in the newspapere Day about 4 years ago, clearly expressed this polarization. (Supplement: The inflamed so-called Fourth Battles a few years ago brought this to the surface in a tangible way)
            I belong to those who have expressed concern that EFK has slowly moved to the left according to these criteria. I have probably expressed myself more clearly internally in this debate than I have made public on blogs and in articles.      However, I am very pleased with this year's Torp conference. It appears that charismatic openness has become clearer. Not least, I am pleased that Joakim Lundqvist, the new Pastor at Word of Life is highlighted as one of the main speakers. It demonstrates again the importance of the ready fondness to new charismatic movements is not taking over.
            Now it is important that the selection of the Principal of the Mission School and the new missions director also move in the same direction.

Thank you Anders Blåberg and Torps Conference Management for a job well done.

No comments: