Difference Between American and British Evangelicals

When talking to Americans about what religion is like over here, I have to say it is more than Britain being a much more ‘secularised’ country. There are differences in the way Christianity plays out in the two countries. Methodist Conference is a great example.

Looking over the list of Fringe Events at Methodist Conference, I saw a meeting of MET, Methodist Evangelicals Together (the British Methodist version of the Confessing Movement). The guest speaker for this fringe event is the past chair of the Christian Socialist Movement! Bev Thomas (the past chair) also works with Britain’s Evangelical Alliance.

I can just imagine Mark Tooley of the IRD exploding.

American evangelicals would think a Christian Socialist is an oxymoron! The recent debates about universal health care in the United States would demonstrate this, and Evangelicals call President Obama a socialist like they are describing something nasty.

Just goes to show how one can’t really pin down a word like evangelical!


6 thoughts on “Difference Between American and British Evangelicals

  1. Great, great illustration.

    Something about the image of Mark Tooley exploding made my heart smile. I must pray and confess now.

  2. Pingback: Good nuggets from the Methoblog « John Meunier's blog

  3. The first problem here, though, is that I don’t think it’s remotely fair to compare MET to The Confessing Movement in the UMC.

    I think MET is mainly about evangelism.

    My perspective about the Confessing Movement may not be entirely accurate from the internet, but it seems to me – this is a question – that they are about their own version of doctrinal purity?

  4. John: It made me smile, and I had to confess after writing it!

    Pam: I think it’s fair to a certain extant. I think where it breaks down is 1) What’s representative in this post – there are some differences in the way evangelicals live out their faith, in particular in politics. 2) The UMC appears to me to be much more polarised than the British Methodist Church (though I am told that there are some in MET who wish to raise the battle, in particular over homosexuality).

    The MET, at least reading their website, stands for the same sort of things the CM do (again, it’s not as a politically charged situation within the MC). They hold to similar beliefs. I have gone to a MET meeting and found them speaking the same language as evangelicals back home (except different politics). Yes, they are about evangelism, but more than that.

    It would NOT have been fair to compare them to the IRD (which, I understand there is some overlap with CM). I still have a lot of respect for many of the founders of CM, even if I can’t go all the way with them. I think this comparison would be similar to the National Association of Evangelicals (US) and the Evangelical Alliance (UK), where I see some similar differences.

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