"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace", Ephesians 4:3.

The New Age movement proclaims that "without change there is no growth". For the sake of numerical growth many Anglican churches are applying this principle to their Sunday services. The change involves a move from an inward-looking, reflective, devotional form of worship to an outward-looking, "Good News" celebration style. This move inevitably sacrifices Prayer Book liturgy, not in itself a substantial sacrifice. Yet the change invariably sacrifices the reformation shape of worship woven into our Prayer Book. Cranmer's "justification" liturgy is sacrificed for a happy feeling.

Anglican congregations are often confused, disturbed and divided by the changes to their accustomed worship. The "drip by drip" method of change ("death by a thousand cuts") is extremely difficult to come to grips with. Unaware of the Church Growth agenda behind the changes, lay people are unable to address the situation. The Church Growth practitioner, with his scientific methodology, is often reluctant to show his hand - a good management technique. The only noticeable sign of the practitioner's art, is a move from content toward methodology.

In Anglican circles there has been a radical theological shift from church as a fellowship of believers gathered around the Word of God, to church as a mechanism for evangelism. Having forgotten our war cry - "by grace alone, through faith alone, on the Word of God alone" - we turn to methodology to realize the Kingdom of God. The only trouble is, secular marketing and management techniques are at odds with our reformation worship forms. Inevitably the form is destroyed for the god of expediency. Confused and bewildered conservative Anglicans are often forced to leave their church.

[Pumpkin Cottage]