The Church must move beyond “mass-produced religion,” said apologist Amy Orr-Ewing.
Speaking at the 2022 Evangelical Fellowship Leadership Conference on Thursday, Orr-Ewing likened some of the church’s practices to large-scale farming.
She said it “leaves people empty with tasteless food”, disconnected, “exhausted” and “jaded by the systems and processes, measures and mechanisms of the promises of mass production religion”.
“Since the 20th century and beyond, in agriculture, we have sought to have mass production, machine-type agriculture, and it is a bit like that in the Church,” she said. declared during the online conference.
“We’ve had this kind of mechanized, mass-produced approach to religion, and what that does to agriculture, in the same way it does within the Church, is to fight the seasons so that we can just mass-produce, so that we can consume, consume, consume, and in an agriculture that has destroyed the soil, it has produced fruit that is not so tasty.”
She warned that it was unrealistic for church leaders to expect to live their ministry in a state of “perpetual harvest”, and that the storms of life should be embraced as part of the journey towards Fertility.
“The challenges of the past two years, I feel he is telling all of us, are not lost,” she said.
“Feelings that maybe things have declined, been cut, blown or broken are within its sovereignty. What looks like decline or maybe even disaster may not be if we can willingly give in to the tender hand of the gardener.”
She continued, “Let the storm break all those branches that must go. Resist the impulse to insist on perpetual summer or constant harvest if we are to agree that God is good.
“Resist this kind of relentlessly positive approach to religion and embrace this season you find yourself in.”
She added: “We are at a time in the UK where we need the Lord to come in power by His Spirit, upon His Church. These are perfect conditions for Him to move in power.”
During the conference, Evangelical Fellowship Scotland team member Kieran Turner interviewed SNP Cabinet Secretary Kate Forbes about how she lives her Christian faith in public service.
She told Turner that she always sought to be open about her faith.
“We all know the baggage that comes with being identified as a Christian, or even just identifying as going to church,” she said.
“One thing I’ve always tried to be clear about in my public communication is that, one, being a Christian isn’t an afterthought. It’s not a hobby like swimming or going to the gym. or cook.
“It’s the cornerstone of my identity. It’s not something I can take away and put on Christians, on other people.”
Forbes said Christians weren’t called to live like ‘hermits’ who are ‘stuck in a cave’, but rather to be ‘out there’ as salt and light ‘in a world where very few share our points. sight”.
Reflecting on her experience of living in India for eight years, she said it gave her “an understanding of what it is to be distinctive in a world that does not share your faith but where you have every opportunity to seek the good, to seek the peace of those with whom you live in harmony”.
But she also said Christians ‘need to communicate in a way that people actually understand’ and ‘not just talk to each other in bubbles’.
She ended by saying that in the emerging post-pandemic landscape, Christians must be intentional to bring a message of hope to “a world desperate to hear hope.”
“For those of us who believe in hope in a hopeless environment, there has never been a better opportunity to offer hope to those who fight for hope,” he said. she declared.
“If you think about how difficult the pandemic has been, the impact on mental health, the increase in loneliness and isolation, especially for young people whose lives have been turned upside down, for businesses that have struggled to survive, they have emerged from the pandemic into a cost of living crisis where they are worried about their future, we are experiencing a geopolitical crisis with a war in Europe.
“There aren’t many candles burning very bright and yet we believe that our hope is not based on what we see, feel and experience.
“And I think the world, the UK right now, is crying out for hope.
“We believe we have a message that gives hope. So it’s time, in my opinion, to be absolutely open, engaged, determined to deliver that message of hope.”
Carl Trueman, theologian and author of The rise and triumph of the modern selfraised the issue of gender identity politics and its impact on children.
He said the emerging ideology represented “a fundamental transformation not just in how society thinks about sex and sexuality, but in how society thinks about what it means to be a human being.”
“Because if society revises what it means to be a human being, everything changes,” he said.
“This presents a particular challenge to the Church because for many centuries what we might describe as the dominant Western ethic, the moral code, the means by which we all live together, has been globally consistent with Christianity.
“Yet we now face an era where the terms of engagement in the civic square, the terms of fully accepted membership in civil society, are increasingly opposed, are increasingly antithetical, to those who embody basic Christian anthropology and Christian ethics.”
While Christians might be discouraged by the changes, he said there is hope in believing that their work will one day bear fruit, even if not in their lifetime.
He said it was “a matter of giving up hope for a quick win and going for the long game”.
“I’m resigned to losing all the important cultural battles of my generation…and yet I’m going to get into it anyway. Why? Because it’s not about me,” he said.
“Hope comes by taking the long vision – not the long vision that looks towards the end of my life, but the long vision that looks to the generations along the way – if the Lord does not return.”
The conference can be viewed in its entirety online.