The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
The leader of the Anglican Communion Justin Welby says “all Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul is perfectly clear about that in Romans, so every Christian is a charismatic, in one sense”.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke about the “Thy Kingdom Come” prayer and evangelism initiative that has brought together churches and denominations in 114 countries.
In a recent interview with British broadcaster Premier, the head of the Anglican Communions said the initiative is “biblical” because it reflects Acts 1 and what the disciples did between the Ascension of Christ and Pentecost.
Welby admitted that he was “surprised” by “the number of people who have got involved. Methodists, Catholics, Orthodox and Pentecostals are all piling in. This is not an Anglican thing, this is a Church thing. We’ve seen some extraordinary stories of people coming to Jesus”.
“‘Thy Kingdom Come’ is about obedience to the Scriptures and obedience to Jesus Christ”.
A CHARISMATIC ARCHBISHOP
Asked about his personal prayer life, Welby said that “as part of my daily discipline I pray in tongues every day - not as an occasional thing, but as part of daily prayer”.
“I expect to hear from God, through words of knowledge or prophecies”, he added.
“All Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul is perfectly clear about that in Romans, so every Christian is a charismatic, in one sense”.
“There is not threat against the church, because it’s God’s church, and Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail against it. We don’t need to worry about the future of the Church. And we don’t need to get all agitated about a particular church institution. We need to be concerned to be in obedience to Jesus Christ”.
SEXUALITY AND LGBT ISSUES
Asked about how Christians should think about sexuality and LGBT issues, Welby called Christians to “read the Bible carefully, not just the bits you agree with, and seek God’s wisdom”, as well as seeing “how Jesus treated those who see themselves holy and those who see themselves sinners”.
Secondly, “pray a lot, particularly for those you disagree with. Pray that they will be filled by the Grace of God, because they are your sisters and brothers in Christ”.
Thirdly, Christians should “love one another”.
A SEPARATION IN THE ANGLICAN CHURCH?
How does the Archbishop hold together the complex institution that is the Anglican Church?, Welby was asked. He admitted that “it is difficult” and it “keeps me awake at night”. But he also said unity among Anglicans does not depend on his position, because it has to do with complex realities beyond his responsibilities.
The unity of Christians, he concluded, is important for mission, and that is why it is important to pursue it.