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baptist minister and PhD student
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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
Most of the time we read only a few verses, maybe a chapter, but rarely if ever do we get the whole story from beginning to end. This morning we had a go at hearing the whole of Mark's gospel from beginning to end. We heard it through twenty-five different characters (there was room for many more) recounting their encounter with Jesus as Mark's gospel tells it. A door stood at the front of the church and through the service, different characters telling us of the Jesus they met. Out of the door came John the Baptist, Andrew, Levi, Jarius' daughter, the Syro-Phoneician woman, a child, Peter, Judas, the woman who anointed Jesus at Bethany, Pilate, Joseph of Arimathea, Mary Magdalene and many more. Mark's gospel is full of encounter, never really stopping, before Jesus is meeting another life. We got a vivid sense of all the myriad of responses to Jesus that the gospel of Mark presents you with. We thanked God for the gospel, we said sorry for so often making it dull and we prayed for others through the eyes of the different characters with their need for faith, courage, welcome, mercy and so on. We sang... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2015 at andygoodliff
John Bell and Graham Maule of the Iona Community wrote a series of excellent imagined conversations between Jesus and Peter (originally written in the 1980s, but published as a set by Wild Goose, 1999). This is my attempt to write one between Jesus and Mary as part of a service today which will engage with the BMS resource Dignity. Mary: Jesus? Jesus: Yes Mary? Mary: You never seem to care what anybody thinks. Jesus: What do you mean? Mary: Well here we all are – us women – and here you are. Most rabbis have no time for women disciples. Most rabbis seem ok encouraging the men to pray ‘Thank God I’m not a Gentile, not a slave and not a woman.’ Jesus: Mary I’m not most rabbis. Anyone the scriptures say: “God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Mary: Jesus, do you remember Peter’s mother-in-law? How you healed her and immediately she was rushing round the house trying to make you a meal and she kept telling Peter what to do, he went bright red. Jesus: Yes that was funny. Do you remember when I healed... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2015 at andygoodliff
The first thing to say is Doug Campbell is to be congratulated on the length of his new book, at under 500 pages it is half the length of his otherwise wonderful The Deliverance of God (DoG). Framing Paul is still not a short book, because likes it predecessor, Campbell once again seeks to make his argument as thorough and tight as possible. Framing Paul seeks to solve the issue of when, where and why of Paul's letters. Campbell reconstructs the life of Paul from the letters that are present within the Bible. Like the pre-history to DoG, Campbell has been working around these questions for a long time. Over the years he has published several articles that seek to anchor the life and letters of Paul in history and has had a working timeline for well over a decade. As a student of Campbell's at King's in the early 2000s, much of what the book argues was already in place then, although Campbell has continued to fine-tune the argument in the years following. Campbell's language of 'framing' (borrowed from Derrida) indicates that his aim is to discover the 'Pauline story that frames the letters' (p.12), that is, the Pauline... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2015 at andygoodliff
Yesterday today was Education Sunday and so I had a go at asking What has the church got to say about education? The style of the sermon was inspired by open letter Stanley Hauerwas wrote Christians beginning college. Every weekday since September we take Kirsten to school. She will be doing this until at least 16 or 18 and then she might go on to university. Getting an education is just what happens, so has the church got anything to say about school? The rest of the sermon is going to come in a form of a letter, a letter to someone just starting their education. Dear Kirsten, you are just beginning your education in school and learning to love it and at times loathe the idea of it. I pray that as each year goes by, you will learn to love it more than loathe it, that you will see that anything worth doing takes effort, and learning is worth doing; that not everything can be done for you, or simply given to you. I pray that as you come to see the great diversity of ways at looking at our world – through geography, chemistry, physics, biology, maths;... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2015 at andygoodliff
1. The Work of Theology by Stanley Hauerwas (Eerdmans) - latest collection of essays; topics to include humour, writing theology, the Holy Spirit and a response to Nick Healy's critical introduction 2. The Nazareth Manifesto by Sam Wells (Wiley-Blackwell) - Wells on community engagement, justice and poverty and the importance of being with. 3. A Free Corrector: Colin Gunton and the Legacy of Augustine by Joshua McNall (Fortress) - great to see another book on Gunton's theology to join work by David Hohne, Bradley Green, William B. Whitney, Hans Schaeffer and Lincoln Harvey. 4. Lila by Marilynne Robinson (I know this is already out, but waiting for ppb) 5. Into Your Hand: Confronting Good Friday by Walter Brueggemann (Cascade) - This is Brueggemann on the seven words from the cross, which will be a good addition to ones on my shelf by Hauerwas, Seitz, Rutledge, Willimon and Radcliffe 6. Blue Labour edited by Ian Geary and Adrian Pabst (I. B. Tauris) - with essays by Luke Bretherton and Maurice Glasman and a number of Labour MPs 7. The Crucifixion by Fleming Rutledge (Eerdmans) 8. Paul and the Gift by John Barclay (Eerdmans) 9. The State of Believing by Pete Ward... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2015 at andygoodliff
1. Stations of the Heart - The year began by reading Richard Lischer's account of his son Adam's dying. A powerful and challenging read. 2. Born of a Virgin? - This is an excellent detailed exploration by Andrew Lincoln, Professor of New Testament at the University of Gloucester, on the question of whether the New Testament affirms a doctrine of the virgin birth and whether it is a necessary doctrine. 2. Honey From the Lion - The referundum on Scottish independence dominated 2014, in Scotland at least, the rest of the UK only took notice during the last four weeks, which probably says a lot about the Scottish-English relationship. Honey From the Lion was Doug Gay's well-timed engagement with the question of the ethics of nationalism. Gay argues for the possibility of an ethical nationalism and came out in favour of Scottish independence. This was a book on how political theology should be written. 3. Beyond Old and New Perspectives - A collection of essays edited by Chris Tilling responding to Douglas Campbell's The Deliverance of God, plus responses to the responses from Douglas himself. The soul of Pauline theology is currently a battle between Douglas and Tom (Wright) -... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2015 at andygoodliff
What time is it?* On Christmas day I want to ask what time is it? Most of you are probably thinking why didn’t someone give him a watch for Christmas. What time is it? We read this morning from the apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians and there he says ‘when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman’ (Gal 4.4). What time is it? Paul says it is the time of Jesus, the Son. We live in a ‘present evil age’ (Gal 1.4) says Paul, but now the time has fully come and God has sent his Son, born of a woman. Into our world, God has interrupted time, and has begun a new time: the time of Jesus. The author of the story enters the story and begins to write a new chapter and give the whole story a new end. The whole of time now finds its meaning in the birth of Jesus. The phrase ‘the time has fully come’ could mean that everything had happened that needed to happen in order for God to see his Son, God’s plan from the beginning of creation through Adam and Eve Abraham and Sarah... Continue reading
Posted Dec 25, 2014 at andygoodliff
Stephen Cottrell has written some fantastic books in recent years - The Things He Carried: A Journey to the Cross The Nail: Being Part of the Passion Christ in the Wilderness: Reflecting on the Paintings of Stanley Spencer The Things He Said: The Story of the First Easter All written for Lent and Easter. Walking Backwards to Christmas is his first book for Advent and Christmas. It's brilliant. In resembles The Nail as it offers a series of monologues from different characters in the story. However rather than telling the story from beginning to end, he tells it from the end to the beginning, beginning with Anna in the temple (Luke 2), and the journeying backwards through Rachel (a mother who has lost a child to Herod's massacre), Herod, Casper, David (a shepherd), Martha (innkeeper), Joseph, Elizabeth, Mary and back further to Isaiah and finally Moses. Cottrell's inspiration comes from a painting by Albert Herbert, pictured on the front cover called Nativity With the Burning Bush. Cottrell's imaginative imagining of each character's feelings and choices pushes the traditional story in new directions. Particularly powerful are the chapters on Anna, Rachel, Martha, Elizabeth and Mary - the grief and pain, the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2014 at andygoodliff
May the things that make for hate decrease and the things that make for love increase May the things that make for war decrease and the things that make for peace increase May the things that make for greed decrease and the things that make for generosity increase May the things that make for speed decrease and the things that make for patience increase May the things that make for fear decrease and the things that make for welcome increase May the things that make for poverty decrease and the things that make for equality increase May the things that make for loneliness decrease and the things that make for community increase May the things that make for slavery decrease and the things that make for freedom increase May the things that make for the damage of creation decrease and things that make for the care of the world increase May the things that make for indifference and apathy decrease and the things that make for concern and compassion increase May the things that make for lies and pretence decrease and the things that make for truth-telling increase May the things that make for enmity decrease and the things that... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2014 at andygoodliff