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Christianity in the U.K. has a public relations problem. I don’t mean the typical problems with being understood by people who are not yet Christians. Every church in every age has that challenge.

No, I’m thinking about the way evangelical churches in the U.K. seem to suffer negative depiction by other western Christians. The prevailing sentiment is that U.K. evangelicalism, stuffy and fatigued, limps toward obsolesence or extinction. We imagine the candlestick slowly smoldering.

While it is certainly true that secularism has eclipsed the church in numerical and cultural strength. My brief stints across the pond have taught me that gospel preaching is alive and well in the U.K. The church has her problems and challenges, as she does everywhere. But there remain men and women who have not bowed the knee to the Baals, who devotedly serve our Savior, who practice hospitality with genuine warmth, and who give themselves in service to His Church. There is, in my little opinion, a real zeal in evangelism and a fervent desire to see people brought into the compass of God’s love. It’s a small church, but it’s a true church in so many ways. At least that’s my opinion, formed by the “scientific” data of two whole visits in five years. I know. That’s not enough to speak authoritatively. But it is enough to make me hopeful and to challenge the stereotypical view I held and that I think a lot of people hold.

A little while ago Carl Truman, that decidedly unfashionable and irretractable old school theologian often seen in knit jumpers carrying old books, linked to an excellent interview with Kent Moulder, vicar of St. Oswald’s, Newcastle. For 25 years Moulder has been preaching the gospel in this small congregation that, prior to his arrival, had never had the gospel proclaimed in its gatherings. Twenty-five years later Moulder continues to proclaim and Jesus continues to reign. I was encouraged with this 6-minute chat and thought it worthwhile to pass along. I hope you’re encouraged by seeing that a long obedience in one place honors and magnifies the Lord. I know I was.

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4 thoughts on “Reforming a Local Church Slowly”

  1. Thank you for this, Thabiti. I loved it. There are many, many gifted pastors like Kent out there whose names we do not and may not know because they’ve devoted their gifts to a tough work. Excellent video.

  2. Rachael Starke says:

    I would say this makes me want to bolt from my challenging church and move to Newcastle immediately, but that would of course mean that I’d missed the point entirely. :)

    Nevertheless, I can’t help praying that many of the eager young brothers deep into the current “doing big missional things for God” movement might heed what this pastor is describing, given that it appears to be the opposite of a lot of what is currently happening.

  3. Matt says:

    Dear Thabiti,

    Thanks for sharing one of our resources with others, we long to serve the local church and sharing our resources help us reach that aim. We are grateful.

    Just a note that the Pastor’s name is Ken Moulder, not Kent (which in the UK is a county, but rarely used as a persons name). He really is a humble and godly man, but also able to stand firm amid the pressures of reforming a church.

    Please visit the UK again soon.

    With thanks at our partnership in the Gospel.

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Thabiti Anyabwile

Thabiti Anyabwile is a pastor for Anacostia River Church in southeast Washington, DC and a council member of The Gospel Coalition.

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