‘… in a spirit of constructive dialogue’

I HAVE been asked to respond briefly to Patrick Comerford’s contentions about the use of the term ‘conservative evangelical’ as a descriptor in church discourse today. I must admit I am very happy being a conservative evangelical, having a twin commitment to the great tradition of the Church and the great truth of the gospel. Who wouldn’t want to hold joyfully to these two things?

Sadly, conservative evangelicals aren’t always joyful, and don’t always cause joy in others. So I am grateful for the opportunity to make a few points in response to the preceding article, in a spirit of constructive dialogue.
Patrick Comerford’s main thesis is that “many conservative evangelicals are neither conservative nor evangelical” and his approach is to present a rogues gallery of offenders who claim the title ‘conservative evangelical’ but whose conservatism and/or evangelicalism is questionable. This approach has limitations, yielding no quantitative assessment of how many conservative evangelicals hold unorthodox views or act in unevangelical ways. Nonetheless, several important points are raised.