Before taking sides in the debate about Franklin Graham we need to do our theological homework.
That will be Rev Dr David Hilborn’s challenge to visitors at next week’s CRE Midlands (4/5 Mar, Stoneleigh Park, nr Coventry).
Hilborn, principal of Moorlands College, will speak on ‘Fake theology: even more dangerous than fake news?’ (12pm, Wed 4 Mar).
‘Headlines tell us that secularisation is on the march but theology still matters and is much disputed in the public square,’ said Hilborn. ‘Debates continue about American evangelicals’ support for Donald Trump while Franklin Graham gets “no-platformed” by local UK councils. Abusive practices are exposed with alarming frequency in religious networks, but analysts diverge on whether such practices are distinctively “spiritual” or just falsely “spiritualised” forms of common bullying and manipulation.’
Hilborn, previously principal of St John’s College, Nottingham, will recall momentous claims made following signs of local renewal that supposedly heralded national or international revival. Similarly, certain testimonies of healing anticipated a major wave of healing.
‘Biblical promises of wellbeing and prosperity get curdled into dubious financial practice and even fraud,’ he will argue. ‘Well-meaning attempts at co-operation between different faiths on peace and justice issues become fractious when interfaith prayer and worship enter the picture. So, theology still matters in the civic as well as church context.’
How do we discern authentic theology from ‘fake’ theology in a world where the line between genuine and ‘fake’ news is getting ever-more blurred?
‘I will explore biblical answers to these questions and suggest practical ways forward for Christians today,’ said Hilborn, who will speak as part of The Study Zone at CRE Midlands. The zone gives visitors of all ages an opportunity to choose a theological learning opportunity suitable for their lifestyle. Colleges in the Study Zone include:
* Capernwray Hall
* London School of Theology
* Cliff College
* Oak Hill
* Moorlands College
* Spurgeons College