Peter Jensen has worn three hats well: as a high profile Archbishop of the Sydney Anglicans, Principal of Moore Theological College and as an architect of the conservative Global Anglican Futures Conferences (GAFCON) movement which draws together most of the world’s Anglicans. So it is not surprising that “retired”, he has found another key role.
Jensen has taken over as editor of Global Anglican, a newly relaunched quarterly magazine “committed to publishing international scholarship” that meets the needs of an international church. It has a storied history, previously known as the Churchman, and carried articles by writers like J I Packer, John Stott, J. C. Ryle the nineteenth century Bishop of Liverpool, still quoted by evangelical leaders – most of the UK’s academic evangelical heavyweights.
It is hard to think of a journal quite like this one
But with articles by writers from Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Chile, Jensen’s launch edition send a strong signal that thoughtful articles come from right around the world.
“The new name and the renewed list of consultants shows that there will be a deliberate effort to share what was so valuable in the Churchman with a much broader audience and to have writers from around the world contributing, Jensen tells Eternity. “It is hard to think of a journal quite like this one, with the potential of increasing the scope and interchange of theological ideas in the many countries where the Anglican church has taken root. Hence in this edition we have two contributions by African Bishops addressing the subject of episcopal (bishop’s) ministry, and in particular evangelism.”
Church Society, which has grown in recent years by absorbing a couple of other conservative evangelical groups in England – and its journal –, have always been a useful place to find what Church of England evangelicals are thinking. “I always think of it as aimed at people who are interested in theology on a broad front rather than specialists,” says Jensen. “Likewise, the book reviews enable readers to keep up to date with current literature.”
Asked if there were particular problems emerging for Anglicans, Jensen tells Eternity “There are many. But chief on the list is theological education and in-service refreshment. GA addresses both. The exponential growth of the prosperity gospel is also a major issue, and one which in the end can only be addressed theologically.”
But a when asked if he is a gospel optimist Jensen gives this measured response: “Let me reply with an anecdote I tell in my editorial. The Lambeth Conference of 1988 (a once-a-decade gathering of Anglican Bishops) promoted the idea of a ‘decade of evangelism’. My guess is that few part of the (Anglican) Communion took this seriously, but the Nigerians did. They launched themselves into winning people for Christ and had a wonderful ten years. When the 1998 Lambeth occurred, one of my informants, a Bishop, told me that he came to the conference with great enthusiasm, prepared to tell the story of the decade and to hear from others. But no-one was especially interested. Instead, that Lambeth Conference is primarily remembered for the debates about homosexuality.
“Am I optimistic? Yes, where people take preaching the biblical gospel seriously. No, where the Anglican church has fallen in love with this world. In the end it is a question of how seriously we take the cross.”
At the launch, Jensen gave a pitch for the relaunched magazine “It will be a bridge between seminary and preacher, refreshing the mind and heart of those who teach and those who learn the word of God. May the Lord bless this enterprise!”