Yesterday I was looking rather jealously through the list of leaders who form the council of Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. Their website states their council is made up of “leading pastor-theologians who reflect major ecclesiastical and ministry networks”. That got me thinking. What equivalent do we have here in the UK?
I didn’t get much further than the word “pastor-theologians”. I know of few who could claim that title (John Stott, Donald McLeod and possibly NT Wright are three exceptions). 17 of the 22 Alliance Council members have PhDs – how many British church leaders do you know with doctorates, or even have written good solid books? Is it no wonder that the UK church is struggling, and good British theological colleges are rarer than hen’s teeth?
Then look again at the list of Alliance Council members. What do you notice about these names?
- Eric Alexander
- Alistair Begg
- Gerald Bray
- Sinclair Ferguson
- Derek Thomas
- Carl Trueman
Every one is British (four are Scottish!). How is it that nearly one in four of this US Alliance has hailed from these shores? Guys, we need you back!
Why are there more British pastor-theologians abroad than at home? (You could also add Jim Packer to that list.) Is there something wrong with our churches? Our theological colleges? Do pastor-theologians only thrive away from their roots?
Whatever the reason, it’s time some came home. We are in desperate need of strong colleges and churches. Worse still, of the ten names I’ve mentioned here, only one is a Baptist.
I’d appreciate feedback from those who move in different evangelical circles than I. And if anyone know how to twist the arm of the men I’ve mentioned…