Irritating evangelicalism

Extract from Oh Horrible Decree by Charles Wesley

I think of myself as a “theological sheep-pig”.

The image comes from the film adaptation of a children’s book called “Babe” about a pig that thinks it’s a sheep-dog. The pig is so good at sheep-herding that the farmer enters Babe into a competition. There’s a moment where the farmer contemplates the application form and the line “Name of animal”. The narrator remarks that the farmer takes comfort in reading this, for if it had said “Name of dog” he might not have entered Babe into the competition.

Similarly, the idea of a “sheep-pig” is possibly the best way I can make sense of myself and where I stand in my theology. I don’t belong – and yet I do.

In particular, I often find myself at odds with aspects of what is called evangelical Christianity. I am not one who would try and completely remove this strand from the church, and I recognise that how evangelicalism manifests in the US is markedly different to the UK (and I live in the UK). I used to identify as an evangelical and hope that one day I will again.

However, as a pearl is made through irritation, I believe that the potential of this strand of Christianity will only be realised when evangelicalism is discomforted by people like myself.

Because, sometimes it feels like they are preaching an ‘other gospel’.


An open letter to Nate Sparks on leaving evangelicalism (aka “Why do I consider myself an irritant to evangelicalism?”)

95 statements on hope, sexuality and consent (aka “Some stuff I believe and much of it would challenge evangelicalism”)

This is not a defence of Ezer Rising; it’s a lament over evangelicalism (Dec 2018)

Primrose Everdeen from the Hunger Games with the words "Remember who the real enemy is and who we're fighting for"

Evangelicalism intersecting with gender and marriage

Let’s talk about that Deuteronomy 22 law where a girl marries her rapist. Because it’s not about marriage or sex. (Nov 2018)

Juliet from 1996 20th Century Fox adaptation of Romeo & Juliet, with quote "Proud can I never be of what I hate" and text "Let's talk about that Old Testament law where a girl marries her rapist"

45 reasons why the culture behind #ChurchToo fails to understand consent

Candles surrounding the cross in Norwich Cathedral

Gary Thomas’ claim that Christians should have more children is unbiblical (May 2017)

Pair of ducklings

Books of 2017: Titles for those who are looking outside the box (Jan 2018)

Evangelicalism and biblical interpretation

What? A study on Nehemiah? And The Gospel Coalition wrote it?

I’ve always loved the Torah – and now I feel lied to (a complaint about translation) (Oct 2017)

Worn used NIV Study Bible