I’ve been posting different people’s university Christian Union stories over the last few weeks. You can read the previous ones HERE. Today’s story comes from Stephen Wigmore and you can follow him on Twitter: @stephen_wigmore.
I am generally a big fan of CU’s but I always thought that the CU at Warwick University was sadly harming its own mission by taking a narrow view of what Christian ‘mission’ and life should involve.
The requirement that all events be aimed at evangelism, and from a relatively conservative evangelical protestant perspective, shuts them off to a whole world of potentially enriching practices, theology, perspectives and members. Not to mention being a truncated version of the Gospel. The Bible makes it astonishingly clear that good works and preaching the word of God cannot be separated.
My CU at Warwick when challenged on this claimed that CU was’t meant to be ‘a church’ and so Christians should get those other things elsewhere. But that was a bit dishonest because in practice for most non-Christians and Christians on campus the CU was basically the Church on campus. Also, the CU refused to even mention events to its members from other Christian groups that might cover some of the good works and pastoral, spiritual areas it didn’t focus on. It’s called the ‘Christian Union’, not the Evangelical Christian Union, or the Christian Evangelism Union, it should present as complete a picture as possible of Christian faith and life.
I think the end result is that CU members get a reduced version of the rich spiritual heritage across the Christian Faith and their evangelism is weakened, not strengthened, by not presenting a more complex and rounded view of the Christian tradition to non-believers.
I have huge regard and respect for all the CU members and leaders I knew at Uni. They were the most lovely, kind, giving people. I say these things purely because I know how talented, devoted and hard-working CU members were, and I thought the whole structure ended up needlessly making their efforts less effective and fruitful than they otherwise would be. If I blame anyone it’s purely UCCF Central’s command and control attitude towards CUs.