Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-4hhp2 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-27T17:01:25.945Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

The Keele Congress of 1967: A Paradigm Shift in Anglican Evangelical Attitudes1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 March 2011

Abstract

The National Evangelical Anglican Congress which took place at Keele University in April 1967 is widely acknowledged as a major watershed for the evangelical movement in the Church of England. This paper offers a fresh analysis of the event, based on detailed archival research. It argues that there was a decisive attitudinal shift at the congress, driven especially by the younger generation – from piety to policy, conservatism to radicalism, homogeneity to diversity, and exclusivism to ecumenism. It shows how in these four areas the Keele Congress established a new agenda for Anglican evangelicalism, a legacy which still continues today.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Journal of Anglican Studies Trust 2011

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

1.

An earlier version of this paper was presented at Stirling University in April 2009 as part of the Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism in Britain Project. I am grateful to Professor David Bebbington for the invitation to speak on that occasion, and to participants for their helpful interactions. I am also grateful to Peter Webster for his comments.

2.

Dr Andrew Atherstone is a tutor in history and doctrine, and Latimer research fellow, Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, UK.

References

3. Stott, John, ‘Attempt to Face Today's Crucial Questions’, Church Times, 31 March 1967, p. 11.Google Scholar

4. David Paton in Crowe, Philip (ed.), Keele '67: The National Evangelical Anglican Congress Statement (London: Falcon, 1967), p. 16.Google Scholar

5. Warner, Rob, Reinventing English Evangelicalism, 1966–2001: A Theological and Sociological Study (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2007), p. 180.Google Scholar

6. Bebbington, David, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s (London: Unwin Hyman, 1989), p. 249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

7. Manwaring, Randle, From Controversy to Co-Existence: Evangelicals in the Church of England 1914–1980 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), p. 177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

8. McGrath, A.E., ‘Evangelical Anglicanism: A Contradiction in Terms?’, in R.T. France and A.E. McGrath (eds.), Evangelical Anglicans: Their Role and Influence in the Church Today (London: SPCK, 1993), pp. 1021. (16–17).Google Scholar

9. France, R.T., ‘Evangelicalism and Biblical Scholarship’, in France and McGrath, Evangelical Anglicans, pp. 47–56 (54–55).Google Scholar

10. Yeats, Charles (ed.), Has Keele Failed? Reform in the Church of England (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1995), p. 7.Google Scholar

11. Stott, John, ‘The Significance of NEAC’, statement to the Islington Clerical Conference, 10 January 1967, Saward MSS (in the possession of Andrew Atherstone).Google Scholar

12. Church of England Newspaper (hereafter CEN), 3 February 1967, p. 1.Google Scholar

13. Stott, John, ‘National Evangelical Anglican Congress’, press statement, 14 March 1967, Saward MSS.Google Scholar

14. Brown, Callum, Religion and Society in Twentieth-Century Britain (Harlow: Pearson, 2006), pp. 224–77; Hugh McLeod, The Religious Crisis of the 1960s (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007); Michael Walsh, ‘The Religious Ferment of the Sixties’, in Hugh McLeod (ed.), The Cambridge History of Christianity. IX. World Christianities c. 1914–c. 2000 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. 304–22.Google Scholar

15. Stott, , ‘Attempt to Face Today's Crucial Questions’.Google Scholar

16. Packer, J.I., ‘Following Up Keele’, memorandum to NEAC committee, 9 June 1967, Saward MSS.Google Scholar

17. Packer, J.I., ‘Taking Stock in Theology’, in John King (ed.), Evangelicals Today (London: Lutterworth, 1973), pp. 1530. (15).Google Scholar

18. De-la-Noy, Michael, The Church of England: A Portrait (London: Simon & Schuster, 1993), p. 159.Google Scholar

19. Carson, D.A., ‘Observations of a Friend’, in Melvin Tinker (ed.), The Anglican Evangelical Crisis (Fearn, Ross-shire: Christian Focus, 1995), pp. 203222. (216).Google Scholar

20. France, R.T., ‘Evangelicalism and Biblical Scholarship’, pp. 54–56; France, R.T., ‘James Barr and Evangelical Scholarship’, Anvil 8 (1991), pp. 5164 (53, 61). See further, Andrew Atherstone, An Anglican Evangelical Identity Crisis: The Churchman-Anvil Affair of 1981–1984 (London: Latimer Trust, 2008).Google Scholar

21. Holloway, David, Reform: Discussion Paper No. 1 (Sheffield: Reform, revised edn 1995), p. 5.Google Scholar

22. Review in Churchman 107 (1993), p. 279.Google Scholar

23. John Stott to NEAC speakers, 5 December 1966, Saward MSS.

24. Christ Over All (NEAC Introductory Brochure, Spring 1966), Saward MSS.Google Scholar

25. John Stott to NEAC speakers, 5 December 1966, Saward MSS.

26. ‘Talk of the Week’, CEN, 2 December 1966, p. 5.

27. ‘Countdown to Keele’, CEN, 10 February 1967, pp. 1, 16.

28. Crowe, Philip, ‘Jamboree at Keele’, CEN, 17 February 1967, p. 7.Google Scholar

29. Letter from Crowe, Philip, CEN, 24 February 1967, p. 6.Google Scholar

30. ‘Islington and Keele’, CEN, 6 January 1967, p. 1.Google Scholar

31. ‘One Clear Duty’, CEN, 10 February 1967, p. 1.Google Scholar

32. Stott, John, ‘World-Wide Evangelical Anglicanism’, in King, Evangelicals Today, pp. 176–99 (180)Google Scholar; Dudley-Smith, Timothy, John Stott: The Making of a Leader (Leicester: IVP, 1999), pp. 304308.Google Scholar

33. Saward, Michael, Evangelicals on the Move (Oxford: Mowbray, 1987), p. 38Google Scholar. See also Saward, Michael, ‘Behind the Plenaries’, in Yeats, Has Keele Failed?, pp. 17–41 (21)Google Scholar and Saward, Michael, A Faint Streak of Humility: An Autobiography (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1999), p. 250Google Scholar.

34. Resolutions from the Eclectic Society National Conference, 17 November 1966; NEAC Committee Minutes, 1 December 1966, Saward MSS.

35. ‘How the Keele Congress Came About’, CEN, 17 February 1967, p. 16.Google Scholar

36. Stott, John, ‘National Evangelical Anglican Congress’, press statement, 14 March 1967, Saward MSS.Google Scholar

37. John Stott to NEAC speakers, 5 December 1966, Saward MSS.

38. NEAC Committee Minutes, 1 December 1966, Saward MSS.

39. Stott, John, ‘That Word “Radical” ’, CEN, 24 February 1967, p. 7.Google Scholar

40. Stott, , ‘The Significance of NEAC’.Google Scholar

41. NEAC Committee Minutes, 10 January and 2 March 1967, Saward MSS.

42. ‘Congress Round-Up’, Keele Supplement, p. iv, in CEN, 31 March 1967.Google Scholar

43. Letter from Stride, John, CEN, 7 April 1967, p. 6.Google Scholar

44. ‘Today, at Keele’, CEN, 7 April 1967, p. 8.Google Scholar

45. Contra Smith, David, Transforming the World? The Social Impact of British Evangelicalism (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1998), p. 90Google Scholar; Guest, Mathew, Evangelical Identity and Contemporary Culture: A Congregational Study in Innovation (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2007), p. 51Google Scholar; Warner, , Reinventing English Evangelicalism, p. 180Google Scholar.

46. Osborn, R.R., ‘Keele and the Liberal Evangelicals’, CEN, 7 July 1967, p. 7.Google Scholar

47. Motyer, J.A., ‘New Men in Christ’, in J.I. Packer (ed.), Guidelines: Anglican Evangelicals Face the Future (London: Falcon, 1967), pp. 121146. (141).Google Scholar

48. Leathem, William, ‘Renewing the Local Church’, in Packer, Guidelines, pp. 183–209 (198–99).Google Scholar

49. Anderson, J.N.D., ‘Christian Worldliness’, in Packer, Guidelines, pp. 213–32 (214–15).Google Scholar

50. Crowe, , Keele '67: The NEAC Statement, para 20. See further, Bebbington, David, ‘The Decline and Resurgence of Evangelical Social Concern 1918–1980’, in John Wolffe (ed.), Evangelical Faith and Public Zeal: Evangelicals and Society in Britain 1780–1980 (London: SPCK, 1995), pp. 175197.Google Scholar

51. ‘Countdown to Keele’, CEN, 10 February 1967, p. 1.Google Scholar

52. ‘Drafting Committee Has Tricky Job’, CEN, 24 February 1967, p. 14.Google Scholar

53. King, , The Evangelicals, p. 120.Google Scholar

54. Letter from May, Charles, CEN, 17 February 1967, p. 6.Google Scholar

55. Letter from Cragg, H.W., CEN, 17 February 1967, p. 6.Google Scholar

56. Letter from Gough, Basil, CEN, 17 March 1967, p. 7.Google Scholar

57. ‘ “Radical” Plus “Biblical” Equals What?’, CEN, 3 February 1967, p. 1.Google Scholar

58. Stott, , ‘That Word “Radical” ’.Google Scholar

59. Stott, , ‘That Word “Radical” ’.Google Scholar

60. ‘Keele Aftermath’, CEN, 13 October 1967, p. 2.Google Scholar

61. National Evangelical Anglican Congress: Official List of Delegates, Observers and Other Participants (1967), Saward MSS. In the official Keele history, George Hoffman claims there were 519 clergy and 481 laity, making exactly 1000 delegates, but this is an overestimate; see Hoffman, George, ‘The Story of the Congress’, in Crowe, Keele '67: The NEAC Statement, pp. 7–14 (10).Google Scholar

62. ‘Who Will Go to Keele?’, CEN, 3 March 1967, p. 16.Google Scholar

63. For details of the organizing committee, see Christ Over All (NEAC programme, April 1967), p. 17, Saward MSS.

64. Stott, , ‘Attempt to Face Today's Crucial Questions’.Google Scholar

65. Crowe, , ‘Jamboree at Keele’.Google Scholar

66. Hoffman, , ‘Story of the Congress’, pp. 13–14.Google Scholar

67. Turner, Dennis F., ‘A Cog in the Keele Machine’, CEN, 14 April 1967, p. 12.Google Scholar

68. ‘Talk of the Week’, CEN, 7 April 1967, p. 5.Google Scholar

69. Summary of Recommendations made by Buchanan, Crowe and Reid (Drafting Committee) with Dudley-Smith and Stott (Organizing Committee), 7 February 1967, Saward MSS.

70. Stott, , ‘Attempt to Face Today's Crucial Questions’.Google Scholar

71. ‘Drafting Committee Has Tricky Job’, CEN, 24 February 1967, p. 14.Google Scholar

72. King, , The Evangelicals, pp. 122–23.Google Scholar

73. Stott, John, ‘Introduction to the Statement’, in Crowe, Keele '67: The NEAC Statement, p. 18; John Stott to Michael Ramsey, 8 April 1967, Lambeth Palace Library, Ramsey Papers, vol. 118, fo. 241.Google Scholar

74. Beeson, Trevor, ‘Evangelical Marathon’, New Christian, 20 April 1967, p. 9.Google Scholar

75. Frontier 10 (Summer 1967), p. 82.Google Scholar

76. See, for example, letter from Birch, Harry A., CEN, 28 April 1967, p. 4.Google Scholar

77. Stott, , ‘That Word “Radical” ’.Google Scholar

78. King, , The Evangelicals, p. 122.Google Scholar

79. King, , The Evangelicals, pp. 120–21.Google Scholar

80. Dudley-Smith, Timothy, John Stott: A Global Ministry (Leicester: IVP, 2001), p. 100.Google Scholar

81. Letter from Hollins, John E., CEN, 20 January 1967, p. 6.Google Scholar

82. National Evangelical Anglican Congress: Official List of Delegates, Observers and Other Participants (1967), Saward MSS.Google Scholar

83. Cheetham, Ann, ‘Evangelicals in an Age of Revolution’, British Weekly, 13 April 1967, p. 4.Google Scholar

84. Ramsey, Michael, ‘Jesus is Lord’, Churchman 81 (Summer 1967), pp. 89–94 (94).Google Scholar

85. Ramsey, , ‘Jesus is Lord’, p. 93.Google Scholar

86. Stott to Ramsey, 8 April 1967, Lambeth Palace Library, Ramsey Papers, vol. 118, fo. 241.

87. ‘What Sort of History Is This?’, Evangelical Times, May 1967, p. 2.Google Scholar

88. Sermon by Lloyd-Jones, 1 November 1974, quoted in Brencher, John, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899–1981) and Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism (Carlisle: Paternoster, 2002), p. 168.Google Scholar

89. NEAC Committee Minutes, 2 February 1967, Saward MSS, has ‘relate rationally’.

90. Colin Buchanan to Andrew Atherstone, 27 March 2009.

91. Packer, J.I., ‘The Good Confession’, in Packer, Guidelines, pp. 13–38 (15–16).Google Scholar

92. Hughes, P.E., ‘The Credibility of the Church’, in Packer, Guidelines, pp. 149–79 (170–71).Google Scholar

93. Hughes, , ‘Credibility of the Church’, p. 178.Google Scholar

94. Crowe, , Keele '67: The NEAC Statement, paras. 81–82.Google Scholar

95. Crowe, , Keele '67: The NEAC Statement, para. 84.Google Scholar

96. Frontier, 10 (Summer 1967), p. 82.Google Scholar

97. Hastings, Adrian, A History of English Christianity 1920–2000 (London: SCM, 4th edn, 2001), p. 554.Google Scholar

98. Harper, Michael, ‘Keele and the Holy Spirit’, CEN, 12 May 1967, p. 9.Google Scholar

99. ‘Keele and Unity’, CEN, 30 June 1967, p. 1.Google Scholar

100. ‘Do Not Withdraw’, CEN, 5 May 1967, p. 2.Google Scholar

101. ‘Countdown to Keele’, CEN, 10 February 1967, p. 16.Google Scholar

102. Derham, Morgan, ‘Evangelical Fellowship Keele-Halled’, CEN, 28 April 1967, p. 12.Google Scholar

103. See further, Atherstone, Andrew, ‘Lloyd-Jones and Secession’, in Andrew Atherstone and David Ceri Jones (eds.), Engaging with Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Leicester: Apollos, forthcoming).Google Scholar

104. Atherstone, Andrew, ‘A Mad Hatter's Tea Party in the Old Mitre Tavern? Ecumenical Reactions to Growing into Union, Ecclesiology 6.1 (January 2010), pp. 3967.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

105. Gough, Anthony W., ‘Co-operation with Other Ministries’, in Clive Porthouse (ed.), Ministry in the Seventies (London: Falcon, 1970), pp. 120135.Google Scholar