This is AndyGoodliff's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following AndyGoodliff's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
baptist minister and PhD student
Recent Activity
On Tuesday morning a few of us gathered for morning prayer. We read from the Psalms, from 2 Kings and from 1 Timothy. The 1 Timothy reading included the verses we have read this morning: ‘I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man’ (1 Tim 2.12) and elsewhere in 1 Corinthians it says, ‘women should remain silent in churches’ (1 Cor. 14.34). What do we do about these verses? Violet Hedger was the first woman to be accepted for training as a Baptist minister. The year was 1922. She trained at Regent’s Park College, although the principal, Henry Wheeler Robinson, (who had became principal after she was accepted,) did his best to pretend she wasn’t there. In fact, where as all the other male ministerial students had their examination fees paid for by the Principal, which was the custom, Violet had to pay her own. It was only in 1990 Paul Fiddes, who was the then current Principal at Regent’s Park, wrote Violet a cheque to cover those fees. The cheque was for £5! Following her training, Violet went on to be a Baptist minister in Derby, Halifax, Chatham, and Chalk Farm. It... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2016 at andygoodliff
A short interview with Tim Carter, who has just published The Forgiveness of Sins (James Clarke, 2016) You seem to have an obsession with sin! As your new book and your previous book are about sin. What led you to write both the first, and then this new book? Actually, I prefer to think that I have made progress in moving from writing about sin in the first book to writing about forgiveness in the second: that feels like I am moving in a positive direction! Actually something that bugs me about the church is that we have been given an amazing message of forgiveness, yet we are very good at making people feel guilty… The first book grew out of a sense of dissatisfaction with the way in which people seemed to assume that St. Paul must have had a really negative view of human nature because he talks about people being enslaved to sin. In that book I tried to argue that Paul refers to sin as a power in the specific context of the debate concerning justification by faith rather than by works of the law: he wanted to define the human plight in a way that... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2016 at andygoodliff
Kris Kandiah has posted on Christian Today 11 books every Christian should read before they turn 25. I thought I'd construct my own list, a little bit less 'evangelical' perhaps. Krish's list looks a bit serious, so I deliberately included some lighter books. Being Christian - Rowan Williams, SPCK - This is wonderful small book with four chapters on baptism, eucharist, bible and prayer. Its readable, profound and gets at the heart of being Christian. Surprised by Hope - Tom Wright, SPCK - Christianity has been skewed towards a gospel of heaven when you die, and Tom helpfully corrects that reading with a much bigger gospel and a much better reading of the New Testament. Worshipping Trinity - Robin Parry, Paternoster / Cascade - Who is God? is the most important question we can ask and the church has confessed that God is Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is one of the most accessible ways into the doctrine of the Trinity I know and it is framed around worship. It should leave every reader writing to Hughes, Redman and co. for worship that more faithfully confesses the Christian God. The Provocative Church - Graham Tomlin, SPCK -... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2016 at andygoodliff
Great to see this new book from Tim Carter, a Baptist minister in Horsham and a New Testament scholar. He first book was on the language of sin in Paul, published as Paul and the Power of Sin (Cambridge, 2002) and based on his PhD. This new book The Forgiveness of Sins (James Clarke, 2016) explores the language of 'forgiveness of sins' as it is found in the New Testament and early church fathers. Tim is one of a very few Baptist ministers in pastoral charge of a church (see also Ed Pillar, Simon Woodman) who also continue to research and publish academically. We need more like him. Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2016 at andygoodliff
Regent's Park College (1960-1962) DPhil (Oxford, 1972) Chaplain, University of Birmingham (1962-1968) Doctoral Studies, St. Hugh's, Oxford (1969-1972). Supervised by Morna Hooker Tutor, Heythrop College (1973-2001) Minister, Heath Street Baptist Church (1987-2011) See here for some reflections on the 50th anniversary of her ordination as a Baptist minister in 2013. Marie was the fifth woman to be ordained in the Baptist Union. Publications The Concept of Spirit:A Study of Pneuma in Hellenistic Judaism and its bearing on the New Testament (1976) 'The Prophetic Spirit in the Fourth Gospel', Heythrop Journal 24.4 (1983) Sacred Space: An Approach to the Theology of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Sheffield Academic Press, 1992) 'Hebrews' in John Barclay and John Sweet (eds.), Early Christian Thought in its Jewish Context. Festschrift in Honour of Morna Hooker's 65th Birthday (Cambridge, 1996) 'Priesthood and the Epistle to the Hebrews', Heythrop Journal 38.1 (1997) 'Hebrews 13.9-16 Revisited', New Testament Studies 43.2 (1997) Why Bother with Hebrews?', Heythrop Journal 43.1 (2002) Reading Hebrews and James: A Literary and Theological Commentary (Smyth & Helwys, 2002) 'Hebrews' in Mills and Wilson (eds.), Mercer Commentary on the New Testament (Mercer, 2003) Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2016 at andygoodliff
I popped into London this evening to share in a Shakespearian liturgy at St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Seeing More Clearly with the Eyes of Love: A Liturgy for voices based on Shakespeare's play "A Midsummer Night's Dream." The liturgy and accompanying music was written and composed by some of the faculty at Regent's Park College, Oxford. This was a liturgy; we were a congregation and not an audience, that is our voices responded and shared in this act of worship. Woven into the liturgy were voices from A Midsummer's Night Dream, excerpts from Song of Songs and the letter to the Ephesians, five freshly commissioned poems (performed on this occasion by the poets themselves), pieces of music, prayers of intercessions, and two symbol actions. The amount of ideas and voices was overwhelming, too much to take in on one occasion. A friend who was one of the multiple voices and was participating for the third time in the liturgy said she was just beginning to be hear it properly. Having a copy of the liturgy allows time to return more slowly to the words. I confess I don't know A Midsummer Night's Dream as well as I should, so there was much... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2016 at andygoodliff
Paul Fiddes has put together a group of people to create 'a liturgy of voices based on Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, called 'Seeing more clearly with the eyes of love'. The liturgy weaves together excerpts from the play with elements from the traditional Christian liturgy in order to explore Shakespeare's own theme of clarifying the vision which belongs to love. The liturgy includes newly commissioned music and new pieces written and performed by five contemporary poets (Micheal O'Siadhail, Sinead Morrissey, Michael Symnnons Roberts, Lawrence Sail and Jenny Lewis), based on characters in the play. The liturgy is being performed in Stratford and London. Holy Trinity Church, Old Town, Stratford-upon-Avon - Tuesday 2nd August 5.30pm St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square - Wednesday 3rd August, 7pm Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2016 at andygoodliff
You don’t get to choose God. You don’t get to decide what God is like. You don’t get to pick your role in the story. Your life is not of your choosing. Your salvation is not of your doing. Instead God calls. God is who God is. God invites. God make yours life possible. God saves. That’s been the recurring message as we’ve look at the call stories of Abraham, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The Bible calls us to re-write our biographies, with God as the subject of every sentence. This is not straightforward because we are taught to believe that every sentence should begin ‘I.’ Most of our lives are centred around ‘I’. We have accepted the narrative that we get to make our lives up, that we are the author of our stories, we are the creator of our destinies. We have come to believe that we can be anything we want to be, we can do anything we set out to do, if we desire it enough, if we want it enough. This is the formula for almost every Disney movie: whether you’re a panda, a rat, a snail or a car. [i] The Christian gospel... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2016 at andygoodliff
[This sermon is part of a series looking at call narratives in the Old Testament. This week it was Jeremiah 1.1-10. Following Thursday's EU referendum I try within to offer some response] The book of Jeremiah begins with the words: ‘The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin.’ Not anything particularly special, its not to dissimilar to how other books of the prophets begin. But – you knew there was a but coming! - it says Jeremiah is from Anathoth. Not a well known place, but it has a minor history in the story of Israel. Anathoth is the place where the priest Abiathar is banished by king Solomon (1 Kings 2.26) for not supporting Solomon’s claim to the throne. Here in Anathoth, a rural village, away from the urban centre of Jerusalem and all that is going wrong there, as king after king fail to rule in the ways of Moses. Here in Anathoth, it is not forgotten, a memory, a story, a covenant is passed on and now 400 hundred years later, Jeremiah comes to Jerusalem as one carrying the word of the Lord with warning and ending.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2016 at andygoodliff
Here's 5 articles I've appreciated on the EU referendum. I will be voting to Remain. What is the EU for? - Jonathan Chaplin EU and International Development - Rowan Williams Brexit and the Destiny of the EU - Adrain Pabst Europe's Pentecost - Sam Wells From Babel to Brexit - Alison Milbank Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2016 at andygoodliff
This coming weekend: Don’t miss a 50% off summer sale from Baylor University Press this weekend (June 10th-12th). The sale is intended for graduate students, but anyone with the code may order! Use discount codeBJUN at, which applies to books published before 2015. Happy shopping! For those Baptists who wanted to get Jim McClendon's 3-Volume Systematic Theology or Curtis Freeman's Contesting Catholicity or Fiddes et al on Baptists and the Communion of Saints or David Bebbington's one volume Baptist history - this is a great opportunity! Other authors in the sale include Richard Hays, Walter Brueggemann, Beverly Gaventa, Ephraim Radner, Matthew Levering, Richard Bauckham, Rowan Williams, John Howard Yoder, Amos Yong, Rudolf Bultmann and lots of others. Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2016 at andygoodliff
The latest Pacific Journal of Baptist Research is available. The journal is a free download. It is the journal of the Baptist colleges in Australia (Maylon, Morling, Vose, Whitley) and New Zealand (Carey). It began in 2005 and has lots of hidden gems within its archives. A previous edition honours Stanley Grenz. More recently an issue was dedicated to responses to Curtis Freeman's Contesting Catholicity. The latest edition seeks to honour Paul Fiddes and I was generously invited last minute to write a short editorial that gives some context to his work. Inside are three articles engaging with Paul's work on the atonement, the Trinity and covenant. Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2016 at andygoodliff
On the sad news of the death of John Webster. Here is a small section from Ivor Davidson's chapter entitled 'John' in the very recent festschrift written in Webster's honour. Quite a few moons ago, I had occasion to introduce a public lecture by John Webster. In the usual way, I took a quick look at the CV I had been sent to see what he had been up to since the last work of which I had known. As I ended up saying to the folk who gathered that evening, looking at John's resume can, in honest, by bit depressing: you are confronted with all the themes on which you suspect there is little point in trying to say much ever again ... It is not just the range [of John's work], but the sheer quality across that range - the depth of learning, the precision of thought, the distinctiveness of approach, the elegance of style - that makes John's work so exceptional. For those who knows its author, all of it has been done by probably the most unassuming scholar they have ever met. John is firm in his convictions, no question, and crystal clear in presenting them.... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2016 at andygoodliff
Today is a day in which we take joy in the life and mystery of God. Properly speaking every Sunday is a day in which we take joy in the life and mystery of God, for we do not worship a different God on other Sundays, but this day we give ourselves to consider what it means to know God as God has made himself known. The church names today Trinity Sunday and it is the day given to saying why we say these three – Father, Son and Spirit – are one. As Christians have read the Bible they have found it testifies that God remained all powerful and transcendent, and yet Jesus, who died and was raised by God, was somehow God; moreover the Spirit, poured out on the Church, is also God, and yet there is only one God.[i] One God, three persons. I want to ask this morning, what is God’s name? How do we address God? I want to suggest we answer it in three ways: [ii] theologically – in other words, we listen to what God says; christologically – in other words, we listen to what Jesus says; and pnuematologically – in other words,... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2016 at andygoodliff
You can’t tell the story of Jesus without the Holy Spirit This is the point that Luke wants to make clear. The story of Jesus is the story of the Holy Spirit resting on the Son.[i] The Spirit comes upon Mary and in her womb conceives a Son. The Spirit comes upon Jesus like a dove while he is praying at his baptism. The Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness and out again. The Spirit fills Jesus for his ministry – ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.’ The Spirit, as cloud, covers Jesus at his transfiguration on Mount Tabor. The Spirit is the agent through which Jesus’ whole life is offered to God. The Spirit is the one through whom Jesus is raised. One early church father called Gregory says this: Christ is born; the Spirit is the forerunner. He is baptised; the Spirit bears witness. He is tempted; the Spirit leads him up. He works miracles; the Spirit accompanies them. He ascends; the Spirit takes his place.[ii] The Holy Spirit and Jesus come together. From conception to ascension the Holy Spirit rests on the body of Jesus. The truth of Pentecost, the miracle of Pentecost, is the... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2016 at andygoodliff
Whatever we make of the Baptist Union's Council statement on same sex relationships last month it will not be the last word. Those Baptists who feel they are unable to affirm any kind of same sex relationship and who see this as a victory for a perceived 'majority', will find that the statement will not be the last word. In fact it may well be that the statement will galvanise those who seek to affirm same sex marriage to be more open in their conviction, and will also lead others, not affirming themselves, to more vocal as well, in arguing that an affirming position be acceptable within the Union. That is, rather than drawing a line in the sand, the statement has ignited a bigger conversation. Those who affirm same sex marriage amongst BUGB Baptists are more numerous than the conservatives realise; not a majority within the Union, but then I challenge the view that the conservatives hold the majority either. (I'm not convinced that speaking in terms of 'majority' is helpful, because it smacks of democracy rather than communal discernment). I suggest that many sit in the middle between the two extremes, and find themselves pulled by both Bible... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2016 at andygoodliff
The entire Christian faith hinges on the words ‘He is risen.’[i] We talk about the centrality of the cross, in fact for some Christians the cross is all that matters, everything else is like window-dressing. But without the resurrection the cross is just a death; We might sing of the power of the cross, but the power of the cross is powerless without the resurrection. Without the resurrection the gospel is no news; without the resurrection the words of Jesus are an impossible dream; without the resurrection the church is a bunch of delusional do-gooders who’ve wasted too many opportunities for a Sunday lie-in; without the resurrection Jesus himself is just a tiny footnote in history; without the resurrection death is still the last word on life; without the resurrection the only way to overcome evil is to fight fire with fire; without the resurrection our past is a prison and our future is fate; without the resurrection your bank balance and your BMI is all that matters; without the resurrection the possible election of President Trump would mean the end of the world. I say again the entire Christian faith hinges on the words ‘He is risen.’ As the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2016 at andygoodliff
I am part of a small team that has sought to find ways of telling the Christian story in Southend Town Centre. A few years back we took over an empty shop for Holy Week and installed a form of the Stations of the Cross. Last year we sought again to tell the Easter story through a series of framed bits of art that we placed in different locations across the Town Centre. This year we commissioned 5 local artists to design a cross. We then produced 500 small crosses and we dropped them all over the town centre for anyway to find a take away. The five cross designs was a fascinating way to how others see the cross. I'm not sure what each of the artists was intending, but these are my reflections. This first cross is imprinted with a compass. I see this in two ways. First, the cross is that which stands radiating out across the world - north, south, east, west. Second, the cross is the compass of the Christian life, it is how the church seeks to orientate its life. This second cross is imprinted with flowers. I see these flowers either as about... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2016 at andygoodliff
Today is the last day of Lent, tomorrow is Easter. The 40 days is up and this is the last in my series of posts that have offered an account of baptism. For this last day, I turn to the 'baptist' theologian James McClendon. Probably the most important Baptist voice of the 20th century. Author of a 3-volume Systematic Theology and now (posthumously) The Collected Works of James McClendon (also 3-volumes). The third volume was published during this 40-days and I offer an extract from it, in a sermon where McClendon speaks of baptism. One was baptised in the River Jordan, another in the River Tiber. One was baptised at the seashore, another in a mountain stream, another in a city fountain - Rome was full of fountains. Yet there was something alike in all cases. "When we were baptised," Paul writes, "it was a burial ceremony" (see Rom 6.3-4). "we were buried with him by baptism into death." Not, of course, literal death, but a ceremonial death, a ritual death - to sin. Yet a death so effective that the baptised are now identified with Jesus who died and rose again. In other words, baptism is a sign, an... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2016 at andygoodliff
Earlier in Lent I shared a prayer by Stanley Hauerwas. Today, on Good Friday, I share an extract from a sermon he preached on the occasion of a baptism in 2007. What do we today to Sierra and Jonas cannot help but put them in danger. For today they will be given life not only through death but through a particular death. The life they are given through this death is one that threatens those who are hard at work creating a world without death. Baptism is deadly business. To be baptized is to die in Christ and to be raised with him. Through baptism into the life and resurrection of Jesus, Sierra and Jonas are made participants in a living body that defies the culture of death. … Through baptism the baptized have inscribed on their hearts the story of Israel, Jesus, and the church. Their bodies will be storied by the story begun with Abraham, who did not ask God for a life without death. He wanted to know what God would give him, and God gave him an heir and land. We believe that God kept his promise to Abraham; Jesus is the heir and his body... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2016 at andygoodliff
Baptists tend to name their churches geographically. So we are Belle Vue Baptist Church because we happen to be located on Belle Vue Avenue. There are a few Baptist churches named after people. I know of a Thomas Helwys Baptist Church in Nottingham, named after one of the co-founders of the Baptist movement and there is a Carey Baptist Church, named after William Carey, the first BMS missionary, who went to India. I know of a church in Cardiff called ‘Calvary Baptist Church,’ named after the placed where Jesus was crucified. There are others apparently named Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and more. I wonder why they chose that name? I wonder how that name shapes the church? I share all this, because earlier this week I came across, as you do when you use google, various churches in America called Gethsemane Episcopal Church.’ Anglicans usually tend to go for names of Saints – St. Mary, St. Martin, St. John’s. I wonder what it means to be named Gethsemane? I wonder what it might mean we renamed ourselves ‘Gethsemane Baptist Church’? Often our focus on Maundy Thursday is on the Last Supper, but tonight I want to look at what happened later... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2016 at andygoodliff
As we gather closer to Good Friday, here is a reflection on baptism from Craig Hovey. The church's failure to be a martyr-church is supremely seen in those cultures that continue to baptise the young for sentimentality's sake. For many, baptism involves neither incorporation into the life of the community of faith nor incorporation into the death and resurrection of Christ. It is not a drowning in the surging waters, a participation in the suffering Christ, a commitment to undergo the discipline of the church relative to its new life and mission made possible by Christ's resurrection. For many, baptism does not recall and invite the promises of God to the new member, those promises that will be necessary in a life marked by dedication and risk. Rather, it forgoes the weightier matters of life and death in favour of sanctioning the life and choices one will make on one's own. In absolute contrast to the gift God has given the church in baptism for marking the difficulty of discipleship and God's upholding, for many baptism only enshrines one's individual life apart from God and entrenches one's autonomous freedom from the church. It becomes a quaint ceremony for an innocuous... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2016 at andygoodliff
Here comes a reflection on baptism in the Syriac Christian tradition from Eugene Rogers and his book on the Holy Spirit, After the Spirit. The Syriac tradition looks at the meaning of baptism in a different light. The Syriac tradition does not portray baptism as a grim moment in which sinners grit their teeth and try to wrest their redemption from the cold and unforgiving water. The tone is entirely different: one of praise, thanksgiving, and wonder, as befits a glimpse into the trinitarian relations and a share in the feasting at the wedding of the Lamb: How fearful and full of awe is this moment when the supernal beings stand in silence upon this baptismal water - thousands upon thousands of angels, ten thousands of Seraphim hover over this new mother, holy baptism, the spiritual mother who gives birth to spiritual sons who enter into the bridal chamber of life that is full of joys … They stand by the river Jordan to receive the Son of God who has come to perfect baptism. The Holy Spirit descends upon him from the uppermost heights, not to sanctify him, but to bear witness to him. The Syriac tradition can see... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2016 at andygoodliff
If it is not too indulgent, today I post a sermon I preached on baptism in March 2014. What has happened here today? What have we witnessed and experienced? Some might say that what has happened here this morning is an ancient initiation rite, it’s the means that the church requires for people to join the club, to become an insider. And this is not untrue. Aimee through her baptism has become part of the body of Christ, a member of God’s people. Some might say that what has happened here this morning is the declaration of what somebody believes, they have announced in public their faith in God. And this is also not untrue. Aimee has made a confession of faith, she was asked four questions and shared her story of why she believes and felt it was right to come to baptism. But I want to suggest something else has happened here this morning which does not begin with the church or with Aimee, but with God. I want to talk about what baptism does to you and more specifically what God in baptism does to you. So this is a sermon for Aimee, to say something of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2016 at andygoodliff
Today's post comes from Kim Fabricius and a sermon he posted on the Faith and Theology blog, to which he is a regular contributor. Fabricius is a URC minister in Wales and is very funny, as well as a great preacher. In the sermon below he reminds us of the oddness of baptism. I’d like your opinion about a couple I know, about something they did, did to their child. Of course they loved their baby to bits and surrounded him with all the care in the world, cooing and cuddling, bathing and bonding, taking tender care about all his needs and his feeds and his smelly little deeds. They were good parents. But then one day they made a decision: they decided they didn’t want to keep their baby to themselves, or even to their own kin; they decided they wanted to share their child with other people, indeed to raise their child as part of another family, a genetically unrelated family, where their child would have not only other brothers and sisters, but also other mothers and fathers too. In fact, this new family would, in principle, supersede their own family as the child’s true and ultimate home.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2016 at andygoodliff