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AndyGoodliff
baptist minister and PhD student
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Curtis W. Freeman, Contesting Catholicity: Theology for Other Baptists (Baylor, 2014), 466pp. This is a very very good book and this is indicated by those who have commended it - Sarah Coakley, Ephraim Radner, Carl Braaten, David Tracy, Gerald O'Collins , Robert Louis Wilken and fellow Baptist, Paul Fiddes. This may well be one of the most important books written by a Baptist, both for its vision of Baptist life for Baptists and also for its vision of the church for those of other traditions. The book tells something of Freeman's theological pilgrimage to becoming an 'Other Baptist.' The term 'Other Baptist' having its origins in being the only box Freeman felt he could tick in a list of various types of Baptist. There is something then of the confessional nature in the book. In Freeman's usage it describes a Baptist who is catholic, one who is seeking to chart a way beyond fundamentalism and liberalism. Freeman defines an Other Baptist as one in which there may well be: frustration with both lukewarm liberalism and hyper fundamentalism; a desire to confess the faith once delivered to all the saints, not as a matter of coercion, but as a simple acknowledgement... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at andygoodliff
Centre for Baptist History and Heritage (Regent’s Park College) & The Baptist Historical Society Day Conferences Remaining in 2014 Saturday 22 November at Regent’s Park College 10.00 am – 4.30 pm. “Baptists and the Communion of Saints” Papers: ‘The Communion of Saints and the Mystery of God” by Paul S. Fiddes (Principal Emeritus Regent’s Park College and Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Oxford.) ‘The Communion of Saints and the Re-Thinking of the Church’, by Brian Haymes (Formerly Principal, Bristol Baptist College.) ‘The Communion of Saints and the Vitality of Memory’, by Richard Kidd (Formerly Principal, Northern Baptist Learning Community). This study-day will mark the launch in the UK of a book co-authored by the three speakers: Baptists and the Communion of Saints. A Theology of Covenanted Disciples (Baylor University Press, 2014) This conference is without cost to attend. But please register by emailing paul.fiddes@regents.ox.ac.ukto secure a place, and bring your own packed lunch (or buy sandwiches nearby): tea and coffee provided freely. Saturday 6 December at Regent’s Park College 10.00 am – 4.30 pm. “Movements for Peace in 1914” A German-British Conference Commemorating the Founding in August 1914 of the World Alliance for Promoting International Friendship through the Churches... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2014 at andygoodliff
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Paul Fiddes, Brian Haymes and Richard Kidd, Baptists and the Communion of Saints: A Theology of Covenanted Disciples (Baylor, 2014), 232pp. Baptists have had very little to say, at least, constructively about the communion of saints. Well, that isn't wholly true, as Brian Haymes, one of the three authors of this new book on the doctrine points out. Baptists and the Communion of Saints is written by three friends - Paul Fiddes, Brian Haymes and Richard Kidd. Three friends who have be colloborating theologically together (with others) for over 30 years. The idea for the book emerged from a paper given by Haymes on the communion of saints back in 2006 and from that they decided to write a joint book that looks to see if anything can be said from a Baptist perspective on this doctrine that receives little attention. The big theme of the book is to take a Baptist theology of covenant (which they wrote about first in 1985 in a little book called Bound to Love) and join it with a theology of communion. Each of the authors brings something of themselves to their two chapters - Fiddes his interest in covenant, participation and his recent... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2014 at andygoodliff
This is the 4th interview. Preivous interviews were with John Rackley, Tim Presswood and Ruth Gouldbourne. This interview is with Simon Jones. Simon Jones is the minister of Bromley Baptist Church. He's ministered in Peckham, edited Christianity magazine and been a regional co-ordinator for BMS. He's written several books on the New Testament, including The World of the Early Church and is about to publish a Grove booklet on Paul and Poverty. He is an associate tutor in New Testament at Spurgeon's College, and supports Urban Expression in London. He blogs here. What’s the most important lesson you learned about ministry that you didn’t know at the beginning? That the questions are more important than the answers. At the start of my ministry I assumed that I was there to answer people’s questions, to help them to nail down the facts of the faith so they could live them. Now I think it’s more important to help people frame the questions they have about life and see how Jesus can come alongside them and help them to work those questions through. It’s not that I’ve stopped proclaiming the truths of the gospel or unpacking the message of scripture in sermons... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2014 at andygoodliff
This is a season of weeping and mourning, but it is not void of hope. Our tears are the bridge between brutality and humanity; our tears are the salty gates for seeing a different reality; our tears are facing soulless nations and a parched mentality; our tears are the dam preventing rivers of animosity. For the sake of the mourning men, cry with us to reflect your amity. For the sake of the poor children, cry with us demanding sanity. For the sake of lamenting mothers, refuse violence and stupidity. Love your enemies and cry with them is the advice of divinity. Bless those who curse is the path to genuine spirituality. Pour tears of mercy; compassion is true piety. Pray with tears, for the sake of spreading equity. Followers of Jesus: crying is now our responsibility. But don’t cry for your friends only; but also for your Enemy. Yohanna Katanacho See here for context. Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at andygoodliff
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Andrew G. Walker and Robin A. Parry, Deep Church Rising: The Third Schism and the Recovery of Christian Orthodoxy (SPCK / Cascade, 2014) Deep Church Rising is the culmination of Andrew Walker's work. It follows on from his earlier work of Telling the Story (1996) and the edited volumes Different Gospels (1993 [1988]) and Remembering Our Future (2007). Walker with assistance from Robin Parry argues that the future of the church must be a 'deep' one, one that looks to the great traditions of the church as part of its history and future. They are concerned that there is a Third Schism taking place, which looks to set separate Christianity from its theological moorings, that casts doubts on the traditional doctrines of the Trinity, incarnation and resurrection. In their sights are the likes of Don Cupitt, John Robinson, John Hick, Maurice Wiles and Shelby Spong and the more widely read Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan, representing in past the wider impact of modernity and postmodernity. Walker and Parry claim we have lost, or are in danger of losing, the gospel and the response is therefore a vital recovery which they call 'Deep Church'. A Deep Church response, they say,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at andygoodliff
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Lincoln Harvey, A Brief Theology of Sport (SCM / Cascade, 2014), 130pp. In the last couple of years, perhaps partly related to the 2012 Olympics, there has been a flurry of theological reflection on sport in the UK - see special journal editions of Studies in Christian Ethics 25.1 (2012), Anvil (2012) and Practical Theology 5.2 (2012) and Rob Ellis' study The Games People Play (Wipf & Stock, 2014). Amongst this work comes Lincoln Harvey's A Brief Theology of Sport. The title of Harvey's work is a deliberate echo of his theological teacher Colin Gunton's work A Brief Theology of Revelation, who's theology has an indelible mark in this work. The title both highlights the book's key strength and its key weakness. Its key strength is its readability, Harvey's argument is easy to follow, doesn't get weigh down in footnotes or immaterial 'academic' side notes. Its key weakness is it sometimes feels too brief, the reader is left wanting the implications of theological claim to be developed. This might not be a weakness, for in leaving the reader something to do, Harvey offers a good "sermon", in that, he does not to do all the work of application, but lays... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2014 at andygoodliff
This is a third interview with a Baptist minister. The previous two were with John Rackley and Tim Presswood. This present interview is with Ruth Gouldbourne. Ruth is the co-minister of Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, London and has been there since 2006. Previous to that she ministered at Bunyan Meeting Free Church, Bedford and was a Tutor at Bristol Baptist College (1995-2006). She was the 1998 Whitley Lecturer and gave the 1998 Hughey Memorial Lectures at the International Baptist Theology Seminary, at that point in Prague. She was until recently the Chair of the Board of Trustees at IBTS. She has a PhD in church history from the University of London and her thesis was published under title, The Flesh and the Feminine: Gender and Theology in the Writings of Caspar Schwenckfeld. She has also co-written a book on Baptist ecclesiology and written several other journal articles and book chapters. She is involved in the Baptist Historical Society. What’s the most important lesson you learned about ministry that you didn’t know at the beginning? It’s impossible and that’s ok; that is, we will never do all that needs to be done and we will never do it all to our... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2014 at andygoodliff
News released today is that Stanley Hauerwas has been appointed to a Chair in theological ethics at Aberdeen. Part-time, but then the guy has just retired from Duke and is 74. It's a great appointment. Having lost Bernd Wannenwetsch last year with a criminal conviction, Hauerwas is not a bad replacement! Hopefully it might mean he will travel across the UK a bit as well. Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at andygoodliff
This is a second interview in a series. The first can be read here with John Rackley. This next interview is with Tim Presswood. Tim has been a minister at Openshaw Baptist Tabernacle, East Manchester since 1993 having trained at Northern Baptist College. In 2013 he became the Transitional Regional Minister in the North Western Baptist Association. He is part of Urban Expression. He has been a chairman at a hospital NHS Trust chariman the Manchester Credit Union. With Clare McBeath he runs a website called Dancing Scarecrow. What’s the most important lesson you learned about ministry that you didn’t know at the beginning? Ministry is an emotional roller coaster. In the space of one afternoon, you can go from the heights of ecstasy to the depths of despair. A beloved project can fall apart acrimoniously, but a pastoral visit to a dying member of the community can lift you back up towards heaven. No matter what style of prayer or spirituality you favour - and I embrace many - it is important to embed your spiritual roots firmly in God. What led your into ministry? When I was eighteen I underwent my second conversion experience (!) which was accompanied... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2014 at andygoodliff
I'm hoping to a post a series of interviews with Baptist ministers over the next few weeks. Here's the first with John Rackley. John was the minister of Manvers Street Baptist Church in Bath until his retirement earlier this year. Having originally trained for ministry at Regent's Park College, Oxford, he ministered in churches in Cardiff, Great Missenden and Leicester before moving to Bath in 1991. He was President of the Baptist Union in 2003-2004. He is a member of the Baptist Union's Retreat Group and the author of Seeking Faith, Finding God (BRF, 2007). He has recently started blogging here. What’s the most important lesson you learned about ministry that you didn’t know at the beginning? Discover how to ‘read’ the map of the congregation’s myths, story, preferences, fears and relationship with God and know your own map too. What led you into ministry? A need to tell the story of Jesus. What keeps you going? The moments when you encounter the ‘new’ whether it is a stranger or in the life of someone you know well. The Holy Spirit is always where there is a growing edge in a person’s life. What one thing should ministers do more... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2014 at andygoodliff
This week two Associations of the Baptist Union announced new Regional Ministers. In both Associations women Regional Ministers have been replaced with men. (Regional ministers are those who exercise ministerial oversight over a group of churches within an Association. Typically Baptists have recognise the need for translocal ministry, but have done little theological reflection and/or articulation of what this ministry is*.) There are 13 Associations. In 2010 there were 8 women Regional Ministers, of which 2 were "Team Leaders" (there were 26 male regional ministers). Four years later there are now 5 women Regional Ministers, of which 1 is a "Team Leader" (and 27 male regional ministers). From 23% of Regional Ministers being women in 2010, it's dropped to 15%. During 2010-2014, there have been 10 new Regional Ministers of which only 2 have been women. In 2010 7 of the Associations had women Regional Ministers, in 2014 there are now only 4 Associations with women Regional Ministers. I am making no comment of the suitability or capability of those men who have become Regional Ministers. I know several of them, and they are excellent ministers. I am wondering why it hasn't been possible to appoint more women into these... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2014 at andygoodliff
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Chris Tilling (ed.), Beyond Old and New Perspectives on Paul: Reflections on the Work of Douglas Campbell (Cascade, 2014), 341pp. It is now five years since Douglas Campbell's mammoth The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Reading of Justification by Faith (Eerdmans, 2009) appeared. Campbell criticises both old and new perspectives on Paul, for what he sees as a commitment to particular renderings of justification by faith. He offers a fresh reading of Romans, in particular Romans 1-4. In the last five years a number of reviews have been published, many critical of Campbell's work (see here). This collection of essays is an opportunity to engage Campbell's work from a number of perspectives, getting to the heart of many of Campbell's claims in Deliverance. For those put off by the length and complexity of Campbell's argument in Deliverance, Beyond Old and New Perspectives provides a different way of getting to grips with Campbell's thesis and its implications. It is fair to say that Campbell has some friends in this book, as well as those who want to test and ask questions of him as well. Campbell is first and foremost a New Testament scholar, but he also has strong theological instincts... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2014 at andygoodliff
A few weeks ago on a Sunday morning as we were thinking about what it means to believe in Jesus Christ, I said ‘Jesus Christ is Christianity,’ a fairly obvious statement to make; it’s there in the name of our faith: Christianity. The whole of the New Testament is about Jesus: - four biographies of Jesus that are called gospels - one account of the early church witnessing to Jesus - and twenty-two letters that speak about who Jesus is and what it means to follow him. At a person’s baptism, we ask, Do you believe Jesus is your Lord and Saviour and Do you intend to follow Christ? At the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, its his supper we come to, its his death and resurrection we remember: the body of Christ and the blood of Christ. At the blessing of child, like we have done today, we promise to surround the child with the life of Jesus. At a person’s funeral, it is the words of Jesus, we proclaim and cling to: “I am the resurrection and the life, who ever believes in me shall live” Christianity is all about Jesus. And yet at times it can feel... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2014 at andygoodliff
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The Ark-T Centre is a little kingdom of God story. My friend, James Grote, the Ark-T Centre director has nurtured (with others) an arts project that gathers people together. Taking some fairly ordinary church buildings there have been transformed into spaces that act as a gift to the community for a variety of activities. Nestled into amongst it all is the worshipping community of John Bunyan Baptist church in which the Ark-T sits. At the heart of everything is a desire to create relationships across the arts, across the community, across church. There is a hospitality at work that only requires that those who work or participate seek to see and engage with the whole in which they are a part. The church have just celebrated 75 years of witness. The Ark-T has been part of that witness for seventeen years. Last October as part of their 75th celebrations, I returned to the church, where I spent two years as a student minister. Here is part of what I said to them: I would say to you where sometimes what happens here in the week (as part of the Ark-T) can feel like it overwhelms what happens here on a... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2014 at andygoodliff
We all judge, and we all have been judged. We cannot help it, because “we are so bound up with the lives of others that what they do affects us, and so we cannot but assess them.” * As we judge so we are judged by others. Life is a series of provisional and penultimate judgements, matters in which we are tested. This act of being judged can reveal what kind of people we are, a test of our mettle, an examination of our courage, our resolve, our love. We think today about the judgement that lies ahead when Jesus Christ comes again: the final judgement: “From there he will come again to judge the living and the dead.” If judgement is an unescapable part of our lives, it is also an escapable part of the gospel; there is no salvation without judgement, there is no gospel without judgement. What does it mean to say “he will come again to judge the living and the dead”? It certainly doesn’t mean that that we have all the answers. We have no direction information about heaven and hell; we have no access to some divine timetable or scenario of the end-time. **... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2014 at andygoodliff
1. Tom Wright - key texts: Christian Origins and the Question of God (4 Vol.), The Climax of the Covenant, Surprised By Hope 2. Richard Bauckham - God and the Eyewitnesses, God Crucified, The Climax of Prophecy, Gospel Women 3. Larry Hurtado - One God, One Lord: Early Christian Devotion and Ancient Jewish Monotheism, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity 4. James Dunn - The Theology of Paul the Apostle, Christianity in the Making (2 Vol.), Unity and Diversity in the New Testament, The Parting of the Ways 5. Francis Watson - Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith, Paul, Judaism and the Gentiles: Beyond the New Perspective, Gospel Writing 6. John Barclay - Pauline Churches and Diaspora Jews, Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora from Alexander to Trajan (323 BCE - 117 CE), Obeying the Truth and Paul and Gift (forthcoming) 7. Richard Burridge - What are the Gospels, Four Gospels, One Jesus?, Imitating Jesus 8. John Barton - Reading the Old Testament, Oracles of God, People of the Book? The Authority of the Bible in Christianity, The Old Testament: Canon, Literature and Theology 9. Christopher Rowlands - Christian Origins: The Setting and Character of the Most Important... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2014 at andygoodliff
In dissertations, essays, articles and books, it will be these names I suggest that will most crop up. The list obviously reflects length of career and number of books and where they teach. 1. Rowan Williams - key texts: On Christian Theology, Tokens of Trust, Resurrection, Arius: Heresy and Tradition 2. Tom Wright - key texts: Surprised By Hope Lewis Ayres - key texts: Nicaea and its Legacy, Augustine and the Trinity 3. John Milbank - key texts: Theology and Social Theory, The Word Made Strange, Radical Orthodoxy: An Introduction 4. Alister McGrath - key texts: Christian Theology: An Introduction 5. Sarah Coakley - key texts: God, Sexuality and the Self, Powers and Submission 6. David Ford - key texts: Theology: A Very Short Introduction or The Future of Christian Theology 7. John Webster - key texts: Word and Church and Confessing God 8. Paul Fiddes - key text: The Creative Suffering of God, Participating in God 9. Oliver O'Donovan - key texts: Desire of the Nations, Ways of Judgment 10. Nicholas Lash - key texts: Theology on the Way to Emmaus, Easter In Ordinary, Believing Three Ways in One God 11. Frances Young - key texts: The Making of... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2014 at andygoodliff
What joins Baptist churches together in the Baptist Union of Great Britain* is a commitment to the Declaration of Principle. This has three articles of which the first is most significant for our ecclesiology: "That our Lord Jesus and Saviour Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, is the sole and absolute authority in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and that each church has liberty, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to interpret and administer His laws." What makes a Baptist church part of the Union is a commitment to trinitarian doctrine, a commitment to the Bible (as the means of discerning the mind of Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit), a commitment to and the practice of congregational government and the belief and practice of believers' baptism (article 2 of the Declaration of Principle). There is no hierarchy within baptist ecclesiology, nothing can be imposed upon a local church, outside of the commitments stated above, with which the local church has assented to. To un-assent from these commitments would mean a church no longer identifies with the Union. So the recent Statement from the Baptist Union Steering Group... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2014 at andygoodliff
Myra Blyth, tutor and chaplain at Regent's Park College, Oxford, who completed her PhD in 2012 on the subject of restorative justice in local church communtities, has launched a new project which "seeks to critically analyse and develop innovative restorative initiatives in the community in partnership with faith communities." The new website is now live here, giving information about a forthcoming public lecture and closed symposium. Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2014 at andygoodliff
Picking up again this Sunday after a break for Lent and Easter* a series on the Apostles' Creed. About a year ago a fellow Baptist minister was a doing a similar series and all I could recommend was Van Harn, Exploring and Proclaiming the Apostle's Creed. Having started my own series, have found lots of excellent books. I list below 12, one for each apostle! Exploring and Proclaiming the Apostles' Creed edited by Roger E. Van Harn (2004) The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why it Matters by Luke Timothy Johnson (2003) Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief by Rowan Williams (2007) Nicene Christianity edited by Christoper R. Seitz (2001) The Rhythm of Doctrine by John Colwell (2013) Dogmatics in Outline by Karl Barth (1949) Faith Seeking Understanding by Daniel L. Migliore (2nd Ed., 2004) The Christian Faith by Colin Gunton (2001) Loyalty to God: The Apostle's Creed in Life and Liturgy by Theodore W. Jennings, Jr. (1992) The Apostles' Creed for Today by Justo L. Gonzalez (2007) Faith and Film: Theological Themes at the Cinema by Bryan P. Stone (2000) Reading is Believing: The Christian Faith through Literature and Film by David S. Cunningham (2002) Others I... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2014 at andygoodliff
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Good to see Wipf & Stock supporting British Baptist scholarship. Over the last few months they have published Rob Ellis' book on theology and sport: The Games People Play: Theology, Religion, and Sport Anne Clements' PhD thesis: Mothers on the Margin? The Significance of the Women in Matthew’s Genealogy Joshua Searle's PhD thesis: The Scarlet Woman and the Red Hand: Evangelical Apocalyptic Belief in the Northern Ireland Troubles (wins prize for best title!) and Peter Morden's PhD thesis (already published in the UK by the Centre for Baptist History and Heritage): Communion with Christ and His People: The Spirituality of C. H. Spurgeon In addition, Ian Stackhouse (and Oliver Crisp) have edited Text Message: The Centrality of Scripture in Preaching. Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2014 at andygoodliff
News reached me over the weekend that it is looking extremely likely that the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture at King's College London is to be closed. The reasons why are unknown to me at the moment. There is a 40-day consultation period. This is sad, terrible and disappointing news. The Centre founded by Andrew Walker in the mid-1990s has played a huge part in developing ethnographic ecclesial research. This was largely through Walker supervising the doctoral work of Pete Ward, Kristen Aune, Rob Warner, James Steven, James Heard, Andrew Rogers, Ruth Valerio, to name a few. More recently Pete Ward has picked up the baton in the Ecclesiology and Ethnography Research Network, which is one of the most exciting and interesting research projects in recent years. Alongside this kind of work Andrew Wright has led research into the teaching of Religious Education in schools, which has been influential in the way the subject is now taught. And through the work of Luke Bretherton (up-to 2013) and more recently Anna Rowlands the Centre has developed into the field of political theology, largely through its Faith and Public Policy Forum. Bretherton wrote the Michael Ramsey prize winning Christianity and Contemporary... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2014 at andygoodliff
Glen Stassen (1936-2014) died earlier this week. He was Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary and the director of the Just Peacemaking Initiative and he was a Baptist. Author of Just Peacemaking, Kingdom Ethics and A Thicker Jesus, amongst much else. A Thicker Jesus is based on his 2011 The Nordenhaug Memorial lectures delivered at IBTS. Larry L. McSwain and Wm. Loyd Allen named him amongst the Twentieth-century Shapers of Baptist Social Ethics. His work should be read alongside and in conversation with that of Yoder, Hauerwas and McClendon, whom he counted friends. In 2013 he was the recipient of the Baptist World Alliance Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award. Last year's Summer edition of the Baptist journal Perspectives in Religious Studies honoured him with a festschrift and earlier this year, former students published Ethics as if Jesus Mattered: Essays in Honor of Glen H. Stassen (Smyth & Helwys, 2014). David Gushee remembers his teacher and colleague Prof Stassen here, as do the faculty at IBTS, another former student Michael L. Westmoreland-White, and current Spurgeon's tutor Joshua Searle. Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2014 at andygoodliff
John Rackley is a very very recently retired (he retired today) Baptist minister. He's just started blogging. I think ge will be worth reading. Here he offers some reflections on episode 5 of the third series of Rev. Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2014 at andygoodliff