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AndyGoodliff
baptist minister and PhD student
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15 years ago today Colin Gunton died. Many were eagerly awaiting his systematic theology, volume one was in draft. It would have been the culmination of a long study of scripture and the tradition. He left a legacy in books and students, (although in my opinion, sadly not at King's College London where he spent all his years teaching) He was one of a very few non-conformist theologians to become a Professor. He made us all think about theology, especially the doctrine of the Trinity, even if you ended up disagreeing with him. I sat in his lectures each year while I was undergraduate - introducing Christian theology, the theology of Karl Barth and in my third year some of the sessions of the Research Institute in Systematic Theology as he read draft chapters from his systematic theology. His books which fill a shelve in my study remain key volumes I pick up and read. It is good to see a growing number of books engaging with his work, and there is a promised T & T Clark Companion in preparation. Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2018 at andygoodliff
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In February this year, Douglas Campbell published Paul: An Apostle's Journey (Eerdmans). (I review it here.) He has very kindly agreed to some answers to some questions about his new book and wider field of Pauline studies. Enjoy! (For those in distance of London, Douglas is speaking at St Mellitus College on Monday 21 May, 6.45pm.) What led you to spend most of your life reading, researching, and trying to understand the apostle Paul and his letters? An excellent question! Hopefully it was God or I have made a horrible mistake. In a little more detail … I was a convert, walking the aisle, quite literally, at the age of twenty. As a student at the time I was drawn naturally to “the book,” which is to say, to the Bible. I read it voraciously, and ended up pursuing graduate studies at the University of Toronto in Religious Studies. Someone told me I needed to study with Richard Longenecker there so I enrolled in his famous class on Romans. It was so popular that they had to move all the tables out of the dining hall and move in chairs every week because it was the only room at Wycliffe... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2018 at andygoodliff
I first came across the Tenebrae service when I attended one led by Maggi Dawn in Cambridge in 2005. In 2008 I attempted my own version and then in 2012 I wrote another version. This year I have tried another one, but which tried to be appropriate to all ages. So we used only one song and we acted out the story shadow by shadow. All-Age Tenebrae : a service of shadows and sadness We have 7 candles. As we remember what happened to Jesus, We will blow them out one by one. Until none of them are lit. Jesus prays in garden Jesus went to pray in a garden called Gethsemane Jesus was feeling sad and troubled. His friends Peter, James and John were with him, and Jesus asked them to stay awake with him. Jesus prayed to God, ‘Father, there must be another way. But I will do what you want.’ Jesus knew that he was going to suffer. Jesus’ friends fell asleep, just when Jesus needed them the most, which made he more sad. We blow out a candle for sadness and sorrow Jesus is betrayed by Judas Into the garden came some soldiers to arrest Jesus.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2018 at andygoodliff
This is my body This is my blood With his words he held out broken bread and the cup of wine. With his words we would never experience Passover the same again. With his words he was doing something new. With his words this meal was of a different kind to all the meals we had shared. With his words we remembered We remembered The bread blessed and shared at Levi’s house, and at Mary and Martha’s, and at home of Simon the Pharisee, on the hillside in the wilderness, and all the other meals. We remembered his words then of kingdom and forgiveness of abundance and fulfilment; his words of what really matters, and they all led to here and now and the bread in his hands blessed, broken and shared. This is my body This is my blood With his words our hearts burned within us. With his words we were overwhelmed with a sense of foreboding and darkness. With his words we were re-learning the meaning of love and life and death. With his words he was saying ‘I am approaching the end.’ With his words we knew his way was set, his path was decided, his... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2018 at andygoodliff
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Really good to see such a diverse set of subjects that British Baptists are engaged in writing about. Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2018 at andygoodliff
My sermon yesterday at Moortown Baptist Church, Leeds, finished with this from Curtis Freeman's wonderful book, Undomesticated Dissent (Baylor, 2017). For the heirs of dissenting Christianity to contribute to the building of a just and good society in the world today, it will demand fostering conscience and recovering convictions, but it will also depend on cultivating communities of resistance. Such communities grasp that seeing the world apocalyptically is not about predicting the future but about living in the light of a revelation that causes the world they inhabit to appear in an entirely new way. They promote habits of an imagination that equips members with the capacity to see the world through the lens of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They read history backwards, seeing their own lives retrospectively in continuity with the story of Israel’s God And God’s servant Jesus. They understand God’s disruptive action in Christ not as a future event but as a reality that is always present and new. or accommodate to institutional structures of secularity but seek a good life together than participates in the new creation and exemplifies what God in Christ intends for all humanity. They recognise that they do... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2018 at andygoodliff
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Douglas A. Campbell, Paul: An Apostle's Journey (Eerdmans, 2018), 207pp. The small handful of people who might be longterm readers of this blog, will know that I'm a Douglas Campbell convert, stemming from the two years that he taught me way way back in 2001-2003. He taught me to read Paul's letters and thought that made the apostle come alive and make sense. I've found it difficult to read Paul in any other way since. I'd like to think that if things had been different, and if it was say Wright or Dunn who had been my first teachers, I still would have comes to my senses when eventually reading Campbell. The problem for Douglas Campbell converts is that how do we encourage others to discover the wonders of Paul through his eyes, for his big book, The Deliverance of God is well over a (off-putting) 1000 pages. That problem is now over, for Paul An Apostle's Journey is less than 200 pages. You can read it an afternoon! Paul An Apostle's Journey is a book I can recommend to my congregation - and I will. Campbell has always approached reading Paul as both a life and a thought question,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2018 at andygoodliff
I wonder if you’ve announced anything this year? An engagement, a wedding, a birth, a new job, a graduation? Politicians are announcing things all the time. It's one announcement after another in Luke’s gospel. Angels pop up everywhere – in the temple in Jerusalem, in the town of Nazareth in Galilee, on a hillside outside Bethlehem. Each time the angel has news to announce. Angels after all are messengers. They have a message to announce. If Christmas is anything it's a time of announcement. The wait of Advent is over, there is news now to proclaim. The announcement on each occasion, to Zechariah, to Mary and to the shepherds is first ‘Do not be afraid.’ In a world, in which announcements can often be ones which fill us with fear, that leave us ‘greatly troubled’ or simply terrified, the announcement of the angels is ‘Fear not.’ In Luke’s telling of the story he names some reasons why Zechariah, Mary and the shepherds might be afraid. Yes an angel has appeared, but at the same time, and a source of more on-going fear are the names of Herod and Caesar. Herod and Caesar ruled by making sure they were feared. They... Continue reading
Posted Dec 25, 2017 at andygoodliff
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Paul Fiddes, Baptist Theology and Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Oxford has published his first novel. Fiddes' first degree was a double first in English Language Literature and Theology. His theology has retained an interest in the novel as his books Freedom and Limit and The Promised End demonstrate. Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2017 at andygoodliff
Increase or decrease? Wide or narrow? And this week slow or fast? This week we measure our lives as disciples with regard to speed. Each week we have seen that to measure our lives as disciples of Jesus, Is a counter-cultural way of life. The world says increase yourself, promote, sell, grow And the disciple seeks to become less, that Jesus might become greater. The world says take the easiest road, the widest gate, cut corners And the disciples seeks the narrow way, the small gate. Advent has a lot to do with time and speed. We look back in time, we look forward in time, we’re asked to wait patiently, in a world that rushes headlong into Christmas. I acknowledge I am one of those ministers, who makes their church suffer Advent without Christmas, who seeks valiantly, and yes, I know, without much success, to hold their congregation in anticipation and expectation. I am a firm believer, like the writer of Ecclesiastes, that there is a time for everything, and a season for everything under heaven: a time for Advent and a time for Christmas, a time for waiting and a time for feasting, a time for getting ready... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2017 at andygoodliff
Here's the best books (in no particular order) I've read in 2017. Beginnings by Stanley Hauerwas & Brian Brock Protestants: A History by Alex Ryrie Undomesticated Dissent by Curtis Freeman Jox Cox: More in Common by Brendan Cox The Book of Mary by Nicola Slee Look Back in Hope by Keith Clements Still by Lauren Winner Speaking Out - Ed Balls Golden Hill - Francis Spufford When in Romans by Beverly Gaventa Dissenting Spirit by Anthony Clarke and Paul Fiddes Dementia by John Swinton Things Can Only Get Worse by John O'Farrell Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2017 at andygoodliff
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Increase and Decrease John 3.30 We make measurements all the time. How much water do I need to add? How long does this shelf need to be? How far is it to the post office? How long will it take to get to my holiday destination? Is this dress or pair of trousers the right size? Can I squeeze my car into that gap? Everyday life is a set of calculations and measurements. We all need a bit of basic maths. How’s yours? I want for these four Sundays of Advent to try and measure our being disciples. The gospel requires us to measure our lives. This is what I’ve discovered. The gospels talk about increase and decrease, wide and narrow, slow and fast, light and heavy. See it as an opportunity to look at your life and see if you measure up, and if not, to do something about it. Advent reminds us that Jesus could come at any moment, So we need to be awake and ready. John the Baptist’s disciples are concerned that the flow of traffic going to Jesus is getting bigger, and the interest in John is getting less. John’s agent thinks its time John... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2017 at andygoodliff
Increase and Decrease John 3.30 We make measurements all the time. How much water do I need to add? How long does this shelf need to be? How far is it to the post office? How long will it take to get to my holiday destination? Is this dress or pair of trousers the right size? Can I squeeze my car into that gap? Everyday life is a set of calculations and measurements. We all need a bit of basic maths. How’s yours? I want for these four Sundays of Advent to try and measure our being disciples. The gospel requires us to measure our lives. This is what I’ve discovered. The gospels talk about increase and decrease, wide and narrow, slow and fast, light and heavy. See it as an opportunity to look at your life and see if you measure up, and if not, to do something about it. Advent reminds us that Jesus could come at any moment, So we need to be awake and ready. John the Baptist’s disciples are concerned that the flow of traffic going to Jesus is getting bigger, and the interest in John is getting less. John’s agent thinks its time John... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2017 at andygoodliff
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Anthony Clarke and Paul Fiddes, Dissenting Spirit: A History of Regent's Park College, 1752-2017 (Oxford: Centre for Baptist History and Heritage, 2017) I spent three years of my life at Regent's Park College, Oxford, and I remain still a semi-regular visitor. My links to the College also continue as I edit Regent's Reviews. It was interesting then to read this brand new history of the College by Anthony Clarke and Paul Fiddes. Published in the year that the college celebrates 60 years as a PPH of the University Oxford and 90 years since first arriving in Oxford. The College's first home was in Stepney in 1810, then a move to Regent's Park, where it gets its name, in 1856, before a third home in 1927, where it remains in the centre of Oxford. Clarke and Fiddes trace how the College has grown and changed in relation to the preparation of Baptist ministers, broader education and its relation to the churches. Regent's is unique amongst the Baptist Colleges and probably lots of centres for ordination training. It's faced many challenges, including, not unexpectedly financial ones. I was especially interested in the College's most recent history from the time of the Principal... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2017 at andygoodliff
I remember one member of this church saying to me something like: I’m not afraid of death, what I fear is dying. This is what I want to talk about this morning. We know the difference Christ makes to death, he conquerors it, he removes its sting he breaks it power. 'There is a hope so sure, a promise so secure,' * that means the last word is not death, but life. But what difference does Christ make to dying. How do we die well? I want to tell something of the story of John Ames as we find it the novel Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. ** The novel is one long letter that Ames writes to his young son. Ames is a widow who marries again unexpectedly late in life and then finds that he has not only become a husband, but also a father. The novel begins with Ames discovering his heart is failing, that is, he is dying. So he decides to write a letter to his son. This letter is his attempt to say the things he believes as a father he should teach his son. As he says, ‘I’m trying to tell you things I... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2017 at andygoodliff
This is a sermon I preached on Sunday, not actually knowing that today was World Mental Health Day. It owes a lot, as will be obvious to John Colwell (and at the end to Katherine Welby Roberts). The sermon is one of a series on subjects we often don't talk about in church. Other Sundays have addressed debt, dementia, disability, divorce (yes all D's). It is only quite recently we have begun to talk about mental health openly. Politicians talk about it more now. The royals talk about it more now. Celebrities talk about it more now. A whole industry of books on mindfulness is big business. The recognition that some people struggle with their mental health is becoming much more widely accepted. The stigma and shame that can be associated with it mental illness is slowly becoming less. My friend John is a Baptist minister, pastoring two churches and then for fifteen years was tutor in theology and ethics at Spurgeon’s College, before returning to the pastorate. He has suffered from depression all his adult life. The other side of his depression are periods of mania with feelings of great energy and enthusiasm. He is bi-polar. He says of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2017 at andygoodliff
News came through this morning that Robert W. Jenson has died. Here's a quote from a little book of conversations he had with this 8-yr old granddaughter. They're talking about heaven and whether it will be boring: But what the Bible really talks about finally is being taken into the life of God himself, and the life of God is just, as it were, one big excitement, a kind of explosion of excitement (From Conversations with Poppi about God, Brazos, 2006) Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2017 at andygoodliff
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Curtis W. Freeman, Undomesticated Dissent: Democracy and the Public Virtue of Religious Nonconformity (Baylor, 2017) This new book from Baptist theologian Curtis Freeman emerged from an unplanned visit in 2005 to Bunhill Fields in London, where he discovered the graves of John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe and William Blake (amongst other nonconformists). These three are centrally placed in the courtyard and Freeman began to wonder why these three. The book then offers an exploration into each of their lives and their respected great works - Pilgrim's Progress, Robinson Crusoe and Jerusalem. In this way Freeman tells a story of dissent and the dissenting church in England, which spread to new shores, partly through the works of Bunyan, Defoe and Blake. Freeman is a great story-teller, already evidenced in his earlier work Contesting Catholicity, and Undomesticated Dissent continues to invite the reader into the world of its subjects. In this way Freeman follows the example of his mentor Jim McClendon (and most notably his work Biography as Theology), to whom Freeman dedicates this book in 'blessed memory'. Dissent, says Freeman, is not just the 'courage to say No!', it is also 'grounded in a profound 'Yes!' to Jesus Christ (p.5), and it... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2017 at andygoodliff
Dpl Spurgeon's, M.Th (KCL 1992), DMin (KCL, 2009) General Superintendent, Central Area (1999-2001) Regional Minister, Central Baptist Association (2002-2004) Head of Ministry Department, Baptist Union (2004-2014) Associate Research Fellow, Spurgeon's College (2010-) Publications ‘The Power and the Glory’, Ministry Today 3 (February 1995) ‘The Church as Sign and Agent of the Kingdom’ in Stephen Finamore (ed.), On Earth as in Heaven: A Theology of Social Action for Baptist Churches (Didcot: Baptist Union, 1996) Care in a Confused Climate: Pastoral Care and Postmodern Culture (DLT, 1998) ‘Surviving and Thriving in Ministry’, Ministry Today 19 (June 2000) ‘The Pastoral Care of Pastoral Counsellors‘, Ministry Today 23 (October 2001) ‘Contemporary Models of Translocal Ministry’ in Stuart Murray (ed.), Translocal Ministry: Equipping the Churches for Mission (Didcot: Baptist Union, 2004) ‘Doing or Being: An Old Chestnut Revisited’, Baptist Minister’s Journal 228 (October 2004) With Unveiled Face: A Pastoral and Theological Exploration of Shame (DLT, 2005) ‘Training Ministerial Students in Spirituality’, Ministry Today 33 (Spring 2005) ‘We want it all, and we want it now?’, Ministry Today 39 (March 2007) 'Inclusive Representation Revisited' in Pieter J. Lalleman (ed.), Challenging to Change: Dialogues with a Radical Baptist Theologian. Essays presented to Dr Nigel G Wright on... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2017 at andygoodliff
You can find a copy of this short article in the latest Baptist Minister's Journal (July 2017). Permission kindly given to reprint here. SCM Press recently hosted an event asking the question ‘Does the church really need Academic Theology?’ I wonder what a survey of our churches and Union might reveal.[i] I’m not sure the answer would be a positive one. There is probably still a suspicion of academic theology or sometimes what appears to be an indifference to it. Baptists are generally a pragmatic bunch, we don’t go much in for theological debate. Back in 1981 a small group of then younger Baptist theologians wrote A Call to Mind.[ii] They believed that with all the excitement then about church growth theory and the charismatic movement, there was also a need to think, to engage in the task of theology, not in the abstract, but for the church: for its faithfulness in a changing world, for its confidence in the gospel it proclaimed, and for its wisdom before the questions of the day. It seems to me that 35 years on, more than ever, we need a theological renewal within our Baptist life and mission. The last ten years have... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2017 at andygoodliff
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Following last year, Baylor University Press are offering 50% off their back catalogue Including: Steven Harmon, Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future James McClendon, The Collected Works of James McClendon, vol 1-3 Richard Hays (ed.), Revelation and the Politics of Apocalyptic Interpretation NT Wright, The Paul Debate Walter Brueggemann, Ice Axes for Frozen Seas Curtis Freeman, Contesting Catholicity Paul Fiddes et al, Baptists and the Communion of Saints Beverly Gaventa (ed.), Apocalyptic Paul And much more. Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2017 at andygoodliff
I didn't know Alan Kreider, but I know he was a gift to us Baptists in England, during his long stay in the UK, first in London at the Mennonite Centre, and then at both Northern Baptist College, Manchester and Regent's Park College, Oxford. Many Baptists appreciated his gifts theological and historical and his witness to the Mennonite way. He was a friend to us as Baptists. His early book Journey Towards Holiness had its origins in talks given at a Mainstream conference. In 2011 a festschrift of sorts - Forming Christian Habits in Post-Christendom: The legacy of Alan and Eleanor Kreider - was published by Herald Press, in which a number of British Baptists feature - Juliet Kilpin, Sian Murray-Williams, Brian Haymes, Sean Winter, Anne Wilkinson-Hayes and Glen Marshall, a small testament to the impact that Alan and Eleanor had on Baptist life. I hope over the coming days that some of our gratitude as Baptists for Alan's life will be shared by friends and family. See already from Sean Winter and Ruth Gouldbourne. Here's a short (and timely) extract from an essay Alan wrote in honour of his friend Brian Haymes: During my years in the UK I... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2017 at andygoodliff
PhD (Harvard, 1971) London Mennonite Centre (1979-1991) Theologian in Residence, Northern Baptist College (1991-1995) Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture, Regent's Park College, Oxford (1996-2000) Associate Professor of Church History, Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Indiana (2004-2009) Professor of Church History and Mission, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (2008-2011) Publications English Chantries: The Road to Dissolution (Harvard University Press, 1979) 'The Servant is not Greater than His Master": The Anabaptists and the Suffering Church', Baptist Quarterly 29 (1982) Journey Towards Holiness (Marshall Pickering, 1986) 'The Search for Roots', Anabaptism Today 1 (November 1992) 'Abolishing the Laity: An Anabaptist Perspective on Ordination' in Paul Beasley-Murray (ed.), Anyone for Ordination? (Monarch, 1993) Worship and Evangelism in Pre- Christendom (Grove, 1995) 'Lessons from Intentional Communities: Mennonite Perspectives', Theology Themes (Autumn 1995) The Change of Conversion and the Origin of Christendom (Trinity, 1999) (ed.) with Jane Shaw, Culture and the Nonconformist Tradition (University of Wales, 1999) 'When Anabaptists were Last in the British Isles' in Alan Kreider and Stuart Murray (eds.), Coming Home: Stories of Anabaptists in Britain and Ireland (Pandora, 2000) 'Christ, Culture and Truth-Telling' in Paul Fiddes (ed.), Faith in the Centre: Christianity and Culture (Smyth and Helwys, 2001) (ed.),... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2017 at andygoodliff
Apparently the Archdeacon of Oxford thinks street preaching should be outlawed. Presumably he'd have arrested Paul in the Agora as nuisance. It is a joke, a lie and a scandal that the BMA now insists on talk of 'pregnant people' not 'pregnant women'. The ultimate mysogyny. The Cof E bishops need to curb the sometimes a bit sinister networking control exercised by Holy Trinity Brompton. In Prague: can't help feeling sad that the Czechs seem to have exchanged communism for a cult of the sinisterly-sentimental John Lennon. Prague: why do Czechs always fall for shallow Anglo-Saxon fads: Wycliffe, Britpop etc? The Church, as a militant mother, must reclaim Mothering Sunday from the American 'mother's day'. In 20thC was restarted in Nottinghamshire. Tattooed ladies belong in fairgounds. And even there one moves on fast to the gypsy fortune-teller. Sussex campus: fifty years after 1967 it still has the odd hippy. Maybe the right potion has kept them young and alive. Why do trails of soccer supporters at railway stations look so grim, stunned, mesmerised, hopeless, infantilised? Dispiriting to see English schoolchildren in uniform unisex baseball caps. Cricket caps for boys, berets for girls is our own culture. Bonkers fascist headmasters with... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2017 at andygoodliff