12 May 2016
Where the Spirit moves Premium
This Sunday marks the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, a festival celebrated with particular fervour by Evangelical Churches. As Churches continue to explore each other’s traditions, Evangelicals are turning increasingly to Catholic spirituality to deepen their faith
IN 1995, Unorthodox church of England vicar Dave Tomlinson addressed a predominantly evangelical crowd at the Greenbelt Christian arts festival – and his tent was full to overflowing. The title of his talk – “The Post-Evangelical” – was then a revolutionary concept; his book with the same title sold out halfway through the four-day festival. Evangelicals in their hundreds were identifying with a notion that would become, for some, the emerging church movement. The idea was that people should follow a less prescriptive Christianity, not so strongly connected to a specific Church and a more radical response to social justice.
Fast-forward 20 years and the next generation of Post-Evangelicals are exploring new ways of living their faith. For many, this journey has led them to embrace Catholic spirituality.
Jo Frost, 33, a Methodist with a charismatic background, runs training programmes in her local church for young people who want to learn more about the Bible. Rather than promote study aids like Bible in One Year (a Bible app used by many evangelicals), she has turned to the Catholic Lectio Divina, which combines reading the Bible with meditation and prayer, as a way of connecting to Scripture on a deeper level. “Lectio Divina helped level the playing field,” she tells me. “It doesn’t presume that one person has all the answers that everyone else must learn, but enables everyone coming to the text to find something.
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