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baptist minister and PhD student
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A friend who is a minister at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church recently asked members of the congregation why they come to the church.[*] I wonder what kind of answers you might say about Belle Vue. Here’s a few that I thought might resonate. Perhaps you come to Belle Vue because it’s a habit, learned from a young age, suitably drilled in by parents, that Sunday’s are for going to church. You can’t imagine life without going to church, it’s part of who you are, and as such Belle Vue has become a part of who you are. On some days you worry you’ve become just part of the furniture, on others you wonder at all the changes in worship and activities you’ve witnessed other the years, either wishing it was like days in the past, or glad for what the newness brings. You believe the church is an anchor in life, that keeps you rooted, and while it does change, it is also the one thing that stays the same. You come to Belle Vue because you believe this church gets that. Perhaps you come to Belle Vue because you like the fact that the church is living, active and... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at andygoodliff
Andrew Walker, Notes From A Wayward Son: A Miscellany, ed. by Andrew D. Kinsey (Cascade, 2015), 322pp. Last year Andrew Walker was honoured with a long overdue set of essays representing his contribution to theology and congregational studies (my review of that book can be found here). Walker is most famous for his work Restoring the Kingdom (4th ed., Guildford Eagle, 1998), which was a landmark study of the 1970s and 80s house church movement, but he has also been an influential voice amongst those seeking to explore issues of church and culture, writing and editing a number of helpful works, alongside overseeing the influential Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture at King's College London. This new collection of essays spans his career and gathers together a number of his harder to find pieces of work into one place. The title of the book is borrowed from the title of an auto-biographical piece which appeared originally as a chapter in Charismatic Renewal: In Search of a Theology (SPCK, 1995) and is now reprinted in this collection. It tells the wonderful account of Walker's growing up a Pentecostal, his experience of the Holy Spirit, and his eventual journey into the Russian... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2015 at andygoodliff
Samuel Wells, The Nazareth Manifesto: Being with God (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015), 328pp. The Nazareth Manifesto took a fairly long time to write. Its first origins are back when Wells was ministering in Norwich in the late 1990s and read a book which introduced the language of working for, working with and being with. However it wasn't until he arrived as Dean of Duke Chapel in 2005 and beginning to understand the mission of the church (in the context where mission was almost entirely as working for) that the book began to be developed. He delivered a lecture in 2008 called 'The Nazareth Manifesto' in which the key argument of the book was outlined and this eventually became the first chapter in Living With Enemies, a small book which was part of the series called Resources for Reconciliation. Alongside this came sermons, two of which bookend The Nazareth Manifesto, which showed the importance of being with in scripture. The Nazareth Manifesto is the expanded argument explored theologically and ethically, written in first few years as vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, which itself has its own particular mission. The simple argument is this is Wells' attempt to argue for the importance of being with... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2015 at andygoodliff
I want to start this morning with an account of someone I know who has found himself through his wife involved in a prison ministry. He lives in the United States. In 2005 at the time of the spring proms a young lad in our son’s year at school – we’ll call him Ben – shot both his parents dead. The school immediately closed ranks. Experts were brought in who advised everyone above all to avoid contact with this deranged and dangerous figure. My wife’s first response though – and I attribute this to the work of the Holy Spirit – was “something terrible happened to Ben to make him do that.” She thought this in part because Ben had been kind to our son when he first arrived at his new school as an awkward foreigner in grade 11. Ben had actually befriended him and gone out of his way to include him in parties and gaming events. Shortly after thinking this she was woken in the night with the conviction that she had to write to Ben in jail. A series of near miraculous events unfolded to open the way for a visit, followed by further weekly visits.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2015 at andygoodliff
Today in 2000 James McClendon died. He authored Ethics, Doctrine & Witness & provided baptistic vision of theology McClendon's baptistic theology was centred around a conviction that 'this is that.' His work sits alongside that of Hauerwas & Yoder. Alongside his 3-volume systematic theology, McClendon did important work on biography as theology & the importance of convictions IBTS in Prague & now Amsterdam through Parush Parushev, Keith Jones & now @StuartMBlythe has been a centre for theology Jim McClendon style. The 3rd volume of The Collected Works of Jim McClendon @Baylor_Press is due out early 2016. Hauerwas on MClendon: 'I always suspect that God gave Jim a Catholic body but forced him to live a baptist life - a small 'b' Baptist life' The importance of Jim McClendon's theology is he starts with Ethics & then Doctrine reversing the practice of the way much theology is done. Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2015 at andygoodliff
Ben Myers tweeted today an excellent guide/summary to each of Barth's volumes of the Church Dogmatics, this will surely encourage those non-readers to give Barth a go, or those still too daunted to grasp something of great man's theological mind. Barth 1/1: Before I ever thought of God, before I opened my mouth to speak, God is, God speaks, and what God says is "God!" Barth 1/2: God's mighty Word is humbly hidden in the human flesh of Jesus, the human words of scripture, & the boredom of the Sunday sermon Barth 2/1: God's happy Word is unconditioned by anything in us. That's why God is better than anyone, because God is free to love everyone Barth 2/2: Why is God so good at freely loving us? Because God had so much practice before we ever existed Barth 3/1: We were summoned into being by God's freely loving Word. From that day on, God has spared no expense in trying to befriend us Barth 3/2: Our nature fits God like a glove: God wore it first then let us try it on, and Jesus shows us how to wear it right Barth 3/3: God's freely loving Word holds the world... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2015 at andygoodliff
1926- PhD (London, 1976); supervised by Peter Ackroyd; DD (Oxford) Tutor in Old Testament, Spurgeon's College (1965-1975) Senior Tutor, Regent's Park College, Oxford (1975-1991) Lecturer in Old Testament, University of Oxford (1981-1993) Major Publications 'The Relation of Zech 9—14 to Proto-Zechariah', Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 88.2 (1976) 'The Purpose of the "Editorial Framework" of the Book of Haggai', Vests Testamentum 27.4 (October 1977) The Books of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi (Cambridge, 1977) 'The Prophets of the Restoration' in Richard Coggins et al (eds.), Israel's Prophetic Tradition: Essays in Honor of Peter R. Ackroyd (Cambridge, 1982) 'Some Echoes of the Preaching in the Second Temple? Tradition Elements in Zechariah 1—8', Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 96.2 (1984) 'The Treatment of Earlier Biblical Themes in the Book of Daniel' in James L. Crenshaw (ed.), Perspectives on the Hebrew Bible: Essays in Honor Walter J. Harrelson (Mercer, 1988) Preaching the Tradition: Homily and Hermeneutics After the Exile (Cambridge, 1990) Micah, Nahum and Obadiah (Sheffield, 1991) Old Testament Pictures of God (Smyth & Helwys, 1993) Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Joel (JSOT, 1994) Propaganda and Subversion in the Old Testament (SPCK, 1997) 'The Messiah in the Postexilic Old Testament Literature' in John Day (ed.), King and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2015 at andygoodliff
(Written for a service where we welcomed animals on Sunday 4th October2015 and inspired by the conversations written by John Bell and Graham Maule). Peter: Jesus? Jesus: Yes Peter? Peter: I was wondering … Jesus: what were you wondering about … Peter: Well, it’s just … I wanted to know … whether … well … is there room for Rocky in the kingdom of God? Jesus: You mean Rocky the hamster. Peter: Yes. I love Rocky. We’ve been friends for years. And you keep talking about the kingdom of God, and I was wondering is there a place for Rocky? Or is it just for humans. Jesus: What does the Bible tell us? Peter: Don’t ask me Jesus, you’re the expert. Jesus: Well, what does it say in Genesis 1? Peter: It says God created all the birds of the air and the fish in the sea and all the animals on the ground. Jesus: And what does God say? Peter: God said it was good. Jesus: Yes God says all the creatures of the world are good. And what does it say in the story of Noah? Peter: That God destroyed the world because of human wickedness. Jesus: But... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2015 at andygoodliff
Today is the 20th anniversary of Racial Justice Sunday. It was first established in 1995. I want to talk today about race. I want to talk about race partly because the church hardly ever talks about it. I want to talk about race fairly confident that everyone who belongs to this church would not consider themselves racist. I want to talk about race even though we probably do not think it is an issue we need to talk about. That we think we don’t need to talk about race may reflect that as a nation we never practiced the overt evils of apartheid or segregation which shaped South Africa and North America. As a nation we never explicitly structured our society racially. And yet racism – terrible and widespread – has always been there in our society and in the church. Racism is present in both explicit terms, as verbal and physical abuse, but also in less explicit ways, more hidden and unconscious, what some term ‘white supremacy’ or ‘whiteness.’ As white British people we may not consider ourselves racist, yet we inhabit a society and a continent with a long history of racism through its colonialism of much of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2015 at andygoodliff
PhD (supervised by Graham Stanton / London, 1993) Tutor in New Testament, Spurgeon's College (1989-2000) Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the United Theological College of the West Indies in Jamaica (2003-2006) Publications 'The Grounds of Association.' in David Slater (ed.) A Perspective on Baptist Identity (Mainstream, 1987), 7-14 'Essential Aspects of the Church in the Bible', Evangelical Review of Theology 3 (1989) 'Does Paul Acquiesce in Divisions at the Lord's Supper?', Novum Testamentum 33.1 (1991) 'Do the Work of an Evangelist', Evangelical Quarterly 64 (1992) 'The Elders of the Jerusalem Church', Journal of Theological Studies 44 (1993) The Elders: Seniority within Earliest Christianity (T & T Clark, 1994) 'Identifying the Faithful Sayings in the Pastoral Epistles', Journal for the Study of the New Testament 16 (October 1994) 'Κα μλιστα ο κεων–A New Look at 1 Timothy 5.8', New Testament Studies 41.1 (1995) 'Jesus and his Baptism', Tyndale Bulletin 47.2 (November 1996) 'Once More: Is Worship ‘Biblical’?', The Churchman 110.2 (1996) 'Against such things there is no law'? Galatians 5:23b again', Expository Times 107 (1996) 'Baptism and Resurrection (1 Cor 15.29)', Australian Biblical Review 47 (1999), 43-52 'Dying with Christ: The Origins of a Metaphor?' in Stanley E. Porter and Anthony... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2015 at andygoodliff
Kim Fabricius' theological doodlings are joy to read and often very funny. You can read them all here, but here's a selection of the shortest, and four doodlings on Douglas Campbell's The Deliverance of God. If there were cameras at Calvary, Christianity would be a cliché. Sermons are like basketball games: everything is won or lost in the last five minutes. Jesus said, “Where two are three are gathered together in my name, there is the C of E in 50 years.” To all ministers troubled by a sense of failure – and your point is? What is heaven like? A lot like jail: no rich people. People often talk of church planting when they mean church cloning. The best sermon I’ve ever preached is probably the worst sermon they’ve ever heard. So you’re a minister. Do you have an office? If you do, you’re not a minister. A CEO has an office, a minister has a study. A woman once asked me why I never preach on taking Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour. “Because, ma’am, I preach on the Bible.” Any preacher who brandishes a book and declares “God says …!” can only be waving the Qur’an,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2015 at andygoodliff
Here's some of the best theological tweets from @LincolnHarvey (Lecturer in Systematic Theology at St Mellitus College and author of A Brief Theology of Sport): So you want to know where the Babylonians came from? Well, when Mummylonian and Daddylonian love each other very much... Churches without steeples are pointless. The Son of God is very down to earth. Jesus had a row with his disciples. On the Sea of Galilee. Jesus is hung up on us. Jesus died doing what he loved, being human. The church is both proleptic and amateurleptic. The bible is wholly ghostwritten. The rich want to call him J€$u$. We took a risk killing God, but he made a boulder move. The doctrine of original sin means the word 'mankind' is an oxymoron. Christians are not what they used to be. Long term forecast. God reigns. Son shines. God always slips from our grasp, even when we grabbed a hammer and nailed him down. On Myers-Briggs, Jesus is an INRI. I've just been read by my bible. There is a place for lyres in truthful worship. Eucharist: the original Happy Meal™ The Eucharist is a remembrance of our future. Reminder. It's not a youcharist. The... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2015 at andygoodliff
Today (18 July) is a day to remember the life of the Particular Baptist theologian and pastor Benjamin Keach. Keach was the leading theological thinker of the late 17th Century among the Particular Baptists. Author of numerous works and pastor of a congregation in Horsleydown, Southwark. Born on the 29 Feb 1640. He became a General Baptist in his teens. He was arrested, imprisoned, tried, fined, and his works burnt in 1660 and 1664. Following which he moved to London and moved from the General Baptists to the Particular Baptists, probably through the influence of his second wife Susannah and his friendship with Hanserd Knollys. He argued with the likes of Richard Baxter against infant baptism and authored catechisms and confessions as well as allegorical works in a similar vein to John Bunyan. He argued for the laying on hands following baptism, which at time the Particular Baptists were unconvinced by and more famously he argued for the use of hymns in worship. When his church in Horsleydown voted to sing a hymn following the sermon, some have said we are the beginnings of the great tradition of English Protestant hymnody. For more on the life of Benjamin Keach see:... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2015 at andygoodliff
Brian Brock teaches Christian ethics at Aberdeen. He is the author of Singing the Ethos of God: The Place of Christian Ethics in Scripture (Eerdmans, 2007) and Christian Ethics in a Technological Age (Eerdmans, 2010). He has also written in the area of disability theology, most recently editing Disability in the Christian Tradition: A Reader (2012) with his colleague John Swinton. Captive to Christ, Open to the World is a little book, 140pp and is a series of interviews with Brock over a range of ethical questions with concern for the environment, politics, medicine, the university. The interviews begin with discussions of Brock's work on scripture and technology, before broadening out into wider issues. The interviews have been edited by Kenneth Oakes who provides an introduction. The book offers an insight into the task of being a Christian ethicist in the church, but also in a secular institution. The book is difficult to summarise because its mode of interview means the conversation moves in different directions, but there is, on almost every page, a gem of an observation or thought to ponder, which is rooted in day to day living. What Brock does in this book is engage with concrete... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at andygoodliff
The 1640 group are 9 Baptists churches that celebrate their 375th anniversary since they were founded in 1640. These are some of the earliest Baptist churches. Together these churches are gathering in Bristol at Broadmead for a shared anniversary service on the 19th September. The 9 are: Broadmead Baptist Church, Bristol - read about Broadmead here Newbury Baptist Church, Berkshire Abbey Road Baptist Church, Reading Dagnell Street Baptist Church, St Albans Kings Stanley Baptist Church, Gloucestershire Alcester Baptist Church, Warwickshire Berkhamstead Baptist Church, Hertfordshire Kingsbridge Baptist Church, Devon Castle Hill Baptist Church, Warwick - read about the church here Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at andygoodliff
Extracts from Contesting Catholicity: Theology for Other Baptists by Curtis Freeman (Baylor, 2014): Other Baptists are sick, and they know it. This sickness is terminal, and it is shared by others. But there is good news; there is a cure. Other Baptists find the cure for their alterity by participating in the life of the triune God with the communion of saints in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church. (p.23) Other Baptists are committed to continuing reform and retrieving the tradition of the church. Other Baptists have said farewell to the establishment of Christendom in search of a contesting catholicity. Other Baptists long to see their churches take a new direction that is neither conservative nor liberal nor something in between. Other Baptists affirm the beliefs and practices that have shaped the identity and mission of baptistic communities through the centuries, but they also desire to be in continuity with the historic Christian tradition. Other Baptists seek to move beyond modernity, yet they are deliberate about retrieving a connection between faith and practice of the once, holy, catholic, and apostolic church. Other Baptists do not claim to have the final word but rather invite the wider community of Baptists... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2015 at andygoodliff
On the news that J. Louis Martyn has died. Here are some words written by one his former students Beverly Gaventa (in an article from 2005): My introduction to Lou came during my second semester, when I enrolled in his exegesis class on Romans. To tell the truth, I took that course solely because it fulfilled a graduation requirement. My interest in biblical studies at the time was roughly the equivalent of my current interest in professional football. By the end of the semester, I was studying the course offerings for the following year with an eye to 1 Corinthians and the Gospel of John, not to mention digging out my abandoned under- graduate Greek textbook. To say that I experienced a change of mind is too little. I was grabbed by the text, and it would not let me go. More than 30 years later it still will not let me go. What happened? I saw exegesis in the making. Lou would come into the classroom, sit down at the end of the table of maybe 15 students, and pull out from his briefcase a Greek New Testament, held together by layers of electrical tape, along with a file... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2015 at andygoodliff
A Sermon for the Marriage of Matt Belcher and Aimee Gilroy 23rd May 2015 People often say your wedding day is the happiest day of your lives.* Matt and Aimee, I hope this isn’t. Weddings take a lot of planning and they cost a fair bit of money and they require dressing up on a scale that is rarely repeated again, and getting married is not something you do every day of your lives, hopefully you only do it once. So we might lean towards saying a wedding day should be the happiest day of a couple’s life. Certainly our culture, including the church, puts a lot of energy into encouraging people to find the perfect partner, Mr or Mrs Right and arriving at a wedding day can have taken a lot of heart ache on the way, a lot of soul-searching and questioning, do I really love him or her? and so it might be quite right to say a wedding day should be the happiest day of your life, but as I said, Matt and Aimee, I hope it isn’t. I hope this is a great day, I hope it is a wonderful and happy day, yet I... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2015 at andygoodliff
As we approach this year's Baptist Assembly (which is a much shorter and will be less well attended) a statement from last year's Assembly has emerged back into the spotlight in the news that one Association of the Union is seeking to dissent from it. Last year's statement sought to find a way to recognise our Baptist principles of local church government and our wider associating as a Union (see here for my reflection on it). The Union changed the ministerial rules to allow a minister and the church in which served (which was already free) to discern whether they could take part in blessing or performing a same sex marriage. According to this news report, the West of England Baptist Association has sought to take the move to disallow any church that comes to the decision to register their building as a place where same sex marriages could take place, by exerting their control of church trust deeds: It appears to say that it would refuse outright permission for any church held by the WEBA Trust Company (the ultimate 'owner' of most of the churches in its region) to be used for a civil partnership ceremony. In 2007, there... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2015 at andygoodliff
Who will roll away the stone? Mark 16.1-8 Easter Sunday 5th April 2015 Belle Vue Baptist Who will roll away the stone? Jesus is not asking the question this time. The women disciples are. Who will roll away the stone? Jesus is hidden behind the stone. Jesus who has died is hidden behind the stone. Jesus in whom they had hoped, with whom they had lived, and to whom they had followed as Lord. Who will roll away the stone? Who will roll away the stone so they can at least give his body the honour its due and they can cling just one more time to him, before he becomes just a memory. And if these women are asking the question, so are we, who will roll away the stone? Jesus you called me and I followed Jesus you promised and I believed Jesus you gave me faith and hope – small like a mustard seed, but you planted me in soil ready to grow. but … but now there is this stone in the way … this big stone that I can’t move. A stone that represents my cynicism – I can’t get past that you’re just too... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2015 at andygoodliff
This year's Easter Icons is in the street. For several years it was hosted in a church, last year we were in a empty shop in a shopping centre, this year we've gone on to the streets. 14 pieces of 'art' in and around Southend High Street, even one at the end of the Pier, that seek to tell the Easter story. There's a website here to accompany the trail. Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2015 at andygoodliff
Mark 10.35-45 Palm Sunday 29th March 2015 Belle Vue Baptist Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with baptism I am baptized with? A question appropriate at the beginning of holy week where we will remember Jesus in the upper room, in the garden, in the courtroom, on the cross and then in the tomb. Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with baptism I am baptized with? Throughout Lent we have been faced with the challenge of following Jesus and none more so when he asks us this question. What makes a mature Christian? Sometimes we like to talk about so and so being a mature Christian and often this can mean they’ve been following Jesus a long time. Well in Mark’s gospel that doesn’t mean much. James and John have been following Jesus from near day one. Three years in the company of Jesus. Three years of hearing Jesus teach and watching him work. We might think they are ready for graduation, they must be reaching the advance levels of the stages of faith, they are surely ready to be called ‘mature’? James and John approach Jesus, they want to speak to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2015 at andygoodliff
Brian Haymes is organising a one day discussion of Curtis Freeman's Contesting Catholicity on Tuesday 7 July at Didsbury Baptist Church, Manchester. Freeman's book is a very important book and should be on every Baptist minister's reading list. Its great to hear that there are those in the UK reading it. If you want to go to the day, please let Brian know at brian [dot] haymes [at] ntlworld [dot] com. Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2015 at andygoodliff
We pray for those like John the Baptist, a voice crying out, grant them the gift of truthful speech We pray for those like Andrew who responded to your call to follow grant them the gift of perseverance We pray for those who listen to your teaching grant them the gift of learning We pray for those like Simon’s mother in law, who respond to your grace with service grant them the gift of joy in serving We pray for those like the man with leprosy, who are made outcasts, grant them the gift of being accepted We pray for those like the paralysed man, who are forgiven grant them the gift of thankfulness We pray for those like Levi who are loved by you, and hated by others, grant them the gift of loving We pray for those like the Pharisees, who only see in black and white grant them the gift of grace We pray for those like Jesus’ family who feel helpless grant them the gift of trust to let go We pray for those like the crowd who listened to your parables grant them the gift of sight to find your kingdom We pray for those... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2015 at andygoodliff
The latest edition of the (Baptist) journal Review & Expositor (February 2015) contains a set of essays by Baptists on Hauerwas with a reply by Hauerwas. Contributors include Curtis Freeman, Barry Harvey, Elizabeth Newman, Ralph Wood, Mark Medley, Jonathan Tran and Kyle Childress. Freeman writes about Hauerwas' Baptist project, seeking to encourage Baptists to move beyond the confines of their often narrow theology. This has been taken up by several Baptists, Freeman being the best example - see his Contesting Catholicity. Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2015 at andygoodliff