If you’re a Pentecostal or charismatic Christian in Merseyside, you’ll know that Frontline church, in the Wavertree area of Liverpool, is pretty much the hip place to be. But a thought-provoking Guardian video report by John Harris last month reveals there’s more to Frontline than just trendy worship and dynamic preaching. Its volunteers are reaching out to sex workers, drug addicts and people in poverty, sometimes with traditional methods, such as food banks, and sometimes in quite progressive ways you might not expect from a conservative church, such as distributing condoms to prostitutes.
Harris asked if Frontline could be “the church to calm our secularist outrage”. And I can’t muster up any outrage about feeding the poor and offering genuine friendship to the vulnerable, even when it’s motivated by the kind of evangelical faith I’ve long since abandoned.
But I do have some major concerns about a side of Frontline church that has gone unreported. Frontline runs a ministry called Life, a group connected to a larger, US-based organisation “called and ordained to set people free from homosexuality through the truth and power of God and His Son, Jesus Christ”.
Details of the Liverpool ministry are difficult to find online. There are a few nonspecific references to Life on the Frontline website. As recently as February, a blog entry on the Frontline site asks: “Do you have any muddled thinking or feelings about gender or sexuality issues?” and provides the Life Liverpool email address for answers.