This coming year we in the Diocese of Dallas will be cooperating with an evangelical, para-church group, ReviveTexas to help in an evangelistic effort this winter and spring. Well, we're all for spreading the Gospel, but why join forces with such a group? To answer this question, I want to turn back to look at several chapters of our own Episcopal/Anglican history.
First of all, what does it mean to say 'evangelical'? It refers to 'the gospel'; at one level this simply points to all Christians! But it also points to the reformation tradition and its emphasis on the priority of the gospel. Since the Reformation is a root of Anglican tradition, it pertains to all of us. More specifically it points to the spiritual movement of the late 18th and early 19th century which emphasized personal conversion, attention to the Scriptures, and evangelism. Especially through the ministry of John Wesley this stream of piety owes much to Anglicanism for its origins.
There is more to say. In the 19th century, religious societies were crucial in the propagation of the Gospel, and the vast newer Anglican global churches are their fruit. Furthermore those Anglican missionaries were adamantly ecumenical. Take for example that great instrument of the evangelization of India, the YMCA, which included a great Anglican (future bishop) like Samuel Azariah working side-by-side with workers from many denominations. That, in some measure, is Anglicanism!
My point is simply this - in light of the history, a group like ReviveTexas 'R' us. I hope you'll join in.