the world is not divided into good people and death eaters

so says Sirius Black to Harry Potter, in this week's latest release of the films based on the books by JK Rowling - the order of the phoenix.

excellent film, especially to those, like me, who are Potter fans and who can barely contain their excitement about the last book, which is due out next week.

and, as ever, there were some themes in the film that stood out and the quote above was one of them. the world is not divided into good and evil people - we must stand by our choices, we all have the potential within us to do the good thing, or the bad thing, our choice will define the person we are. This is much what I was saying about Cain and Abel.

our choices will define us.

I think it was a bad choice for Richard Turnbull to tell a hall full of people (regardless of the audience) that 'liberal evangelicals' were the danger for evangelicalism. I think it was a bad choice for Jonathan Aitken to write an article which defames the staff at Wycliffe Hall, and specifically the gently spoken Elaine Storkey, a self-defined Central Evangelical as chair of fulcrum. I think it was a bad choice for Richard Turnbull to choose not to prevent that article being written.

no-one yet has defended what Richard Turnbull said in that video about his strategy against 'liberal' (read: open and central) evangelicals, and then we find that one of the most intelligent women on his research team, a central evangelical, is being 'disciplined' and no-one sees a link?

get real.


dave williams said...


I can't comment on the accuracy of the article written by Aitken as I'm not a Wycliffe insider. I would prefer it that people refrained from writing such articles. However was it not equally wrong for people to brief the media agaisnt Turnbull which started the rash of newspaper articles, for Alistair McGrath's wife to write for the Guardian, for the letter from the ex principals to be leaked. Come on, lets have a little perspective on this, one loan article in response to weeks of debilitating attack and insinuation.

Secondly, I learnt a long time ago that softly spoken doesn't always equate with being right or rightly behaved. The most deadly attacks can come from softly spoken people. Again, I emphasise I know nothing about Elaine's actions, I'm not coming to a judgement simpyl saying don't judge on that basis.

Finally a number of us have commented on the video of Turnbull and defended the 100% common sense (and indeed all ready well known) views expressed in it. Firslty that liberals think strategically and so should we, secondly that the type of training ministers get will affect their ministry, so the colleges are strategic, thirdly that colleges need funding and that means we need to put our money where our mouths are.

jody said...


gently spoken is simply my experience of hearing Elaine speak, and her manner. Jonathan Aitken's article explicitly mentioned Elaine and something that Elaine said something like - not even a direct quote and the context highly dubious according to comments on TA.

actually no-one has commented on the video in the context that I keep asking about - that of seeing 'liberal evangelicals' as the dangerous canker in the hedgerow of evangelicalism! it was not 'liberals' that RT was talking about it was us fulcrum lot, and RT or Reform really need to explain their delight in the idea of extinguishing us from evangelicalism.

dave williams said...


Again -you seem to have forgotten, firstly my first letter in CEN and then Oliver Barclay's letter on the subject a few weeks later. Barclay is a man with a great deal of both personal experience and also research on the issue of liberal and classical evangelicalism.

At the same you seem to not have grasped the point of my second letter. There is no delight or desire to extinguish people.

Bluntly, the real salivating seems to be coming from those, who week on week have been jumping up and down at the excitement that they might have got Turnbull's scalp.

jody said...

so Dave, what was the point of what Richard Turnbull said? what did he mean by saying that we are the real danger?

dave williams said...


I don't think we need to rehearse the details of the differences here. But I'm sure you'll understand the principle:

1. The real danger tends to come not from obvious outright attacks on the truth. It tends to be more subtle

2. The concern that many of us have is that certain people are not offering a variation on Evangelicalism but evangelicalism which includes elements of wrong teaching, or a watering down or moving away from central truths.

3. That if that happens at Theological College then what happens is that we send out a generation of vicars who are less confident in God's word and less able to teach the gospel -that leads to weakened churches.

Anonymous said...

I no longer post on fulcrum either, but not because of anything to do with Oak Hill, rather, as someone with close personal friends on the staff at Wycliffe, I got sick and tired of the pointless speculation going on on the Wycliffe thread, which only serves to emphasize how little people actually know or are prepared to say about the situation. Please could you try to encourage people to leave WH alone?
Tim G

jody said...

hi Tim

interestingly when I first saw the video I was more interested in what Richard had to say about what it meant to be an evangelical than who he was or, more to the point, where he was principal of. as an aside in my thinking I thought, 'hmmm things must be interesting at Wycliffe right now'. little did I know that less than a month later the proverbial would hit the fan in the media.

perhaps there was some pointless speculation, but there is also a good reason for the need to talk about this stuff - it's like a family argument, not merely rubber-necking at the scene of an accident. both I and people like wannabepriest expressed our feelings of being totally gutted when we read the first article about Wycliffe and I suspect that the majority of people felt like that (rather than the salivating that Dave suggests) I felt physically winded and sad. I know it must be frustrating for you and those others who are closer to it all, when people get it wrong or simply seem to be speculating.

as an aside my intuition tells me that there are those who wish to speak, but cannot. I may be wrong.