Review of the Blog – April 2007: Atonement Wars

UPDATE Steve Chalke has expressed his views more fully in a chapter in The Atonement Debate, and I have posted a response to this.

Today I will continue my review of the last year’s blogging which we began yesterday. April was a very interesting month for me on this blog. So much so that it deserves an entire post. It was a month which single-handedly seemed to dramatically raise my UK readership, and that rise persisted after the month ended. Since I have historically had so many US readers compared to British, sometimes this feels like an American blog to me. (OK, I’m sure it doesn’t to my American readers!) But it seems to me that us Brits have yet to embrace blogs as passionately as our cousins across the pond.

After Easter I considered some readily available information about a significant controversy that had risen to the fore again and now threatened to split the Evangelical movement in two. There seemed to me to be an unfathomable reluctance in certain UK Christian media outlets to cover it. I wondered if some news desk decisions were being influenced by certain commercial relationships. In the end, after much deliberation and with the support of my spiritual mentors, I did the first real piece of journalism I had ever done and broke the story that the split between Word Alive and Spring Harvest was not as amicable as many had understood. Suddenly, UK Christians were turning to my blog to read the latest developments and varying opinions of key figures on both sides to whom I tried to give a platform.

Looking back, as messy as that time was, I really don’t regret the decision to break that story. My sources were several and impeccable, and without looking for gossip, I had heard rumors for several months. Interestingly, I subsequently discovered that at least one person had hinted at the same story on their own blog before me. (Sadly I cannot now remember the link to that.) I didn’t expect the level of public debate between the two sides that would occur, nor the phone calls I would receive from key players on both sides to explain their version of events to me. I felt like something of an agony uncle at times, and knew far more details about the situation than I would have wanted to publish or it would have been beneficial to publish. Splits are always painful. This was the first one that played out in front of the amassed Christian blogs.

I was glad of one thing—the secular media did not pick up the story, although in a sense it shows how irrelevant we have become to their perception of our culture. I really didn’t expect to have such a role, and I very much doubt that there will be too many times in the future when I will find myself doing a similar thing.

You can trace the story as it emerged here on my blog in the following posts:

The interesting thing was that I was, in any case, in full flow in a series on the atonement. So, with the whole blogosphere lit up on this issue, the blog posts I had already written seemed so much more relevant. Here are the posts in question:

Somehow in the midst of all that, I also blogged about other subjects. Notably, the following posts reflected on other debates, and also how we can cooperate together despite certain differences:

I also blogged a fair bit about the resurrection, including the following:

I also remember one of my rare forays into the world of politics in US Election—Dipping My Toe Into a Can of Worms, and an article I published elsewhere entitled Loving God—A Guide for Beginners.

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