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baptist minister and PhD student
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DPhil (Oxford, 1997, supervised by N. T. Wright): “‘Worthy of the Gospel of Christ’: The Situation and Strategy of Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians” Tutor in New Testament, Northern Baptist College (2000-2008) Associate Professor in New Testament, Pilgrim Theological College (2009-) Publications More Light and Truth? Biblical Interpretation in Covenantal Perspective. The 2007 Whitley Lecture (Whitley, 2007) 'Ambiguous Genitives, Pauline Baptism and Roman Insulae: Resources from Romans to Support Pushing at the Boundaries of Unity' in A. R. Cross and P. E. Thompson (eds.), Baptist Sacramentalism 2 (Paternoster, 2008), 77-91. “The Rhetorical Function of John’s Portrayal of the Jewish Law" in Torah in the New Testament edited by P. Oakes and M. Tait (T & T Clark, 2009) ‘Ambassadors for Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5.20): Ministry in the New Creation' in Questions of Identity: Studies in Honour of Brian Haymes edited by Anthony R. Cross and R. Gouldbourne (Regent's Park College, 2011) 'Reading with Friends: Persuasive Testimony in Baptist Interpretative Communities' in The 'Plainly Revealed' Word of God: Baptist Hermeneutics in Theory and Practice edited by Simon P. Woodman and Helen Dare (Mercer, 2011) '"A Daring Synagogue Sermon?": Paul's Preaching in 2 Corinthians 3.7–18' in Delivering the Word: Preaching and Exegesis... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2022 at andygoodliff
Theology Live is a one day for British Baptists engaged in postgraduate theology. This was our fifth event. What is encouraging is that each year we find new people who are doing theological research to invite. From the nine speakers this year, 3 are doing a postgraduate degree, and 7 were speaking at Theology Live for the first time. It was good to have 3 papers engaged with how we read the Bible — Anthony Clarke spoke on the commitments in our hermeneutics, Edward Pillar on 1 Cor 15 and the missing women, and Amanda Higgins on how the language of perfection shapes how read the letter to the Hebrews. Three other papers focused on ministry and church — Lisa Kerry's paper explored whether we should of ministers as professions in conversation with her nursing background, Ruth Gouldbourne reflected on where we are with women in ministry 25 years on from her significant Whitley Lecture Reinventing the Wheel, on the same topic, and Ali Boulton invited us to see how a regular pamper night which included footwashing can be seen as church. Steve Holmes' paper was a work of Baptist history in the 17th century and an argument to revise... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2022 at andygoodliff
In the early hours a congregation gathers. Some are just arriving; others have already found somewhere to sit. There is the usual whispered conversation. This is the first time this particular congregation has come together. Present are: a husband and wife; a bunch of shepherds; and some mysterious travellers from the east. They are joined by animals: a cow, a donkey, a sheep, and a camel. It’s an unusual bunch. All have gathered to worship the Christ-child. This is the first Christmas. Footwear is removed, for like Moses before the burning bush, to everyone it feels like a holy place. All are on their knees; all eyes gazing on the tiny flesh. This is a sacred moment. Words of scripture are shared: ‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.’ ‘But you Bethlehem, though you are small, out of you will come for me, one who will be ruler over Israel.’ ‘And he will be called Immanuel.’ Praises are sung, ‘Glory to God in the highest’ and gifts are given. This is the first Christmas. Someone has some bread, its broken and shared. One of the travellers passes round a flask of wine. A small... Continue reading
Posted Dec 25, 2021 at andygoodliff
I'm honoured to be giving the Whitley Lecture in 2022. The current Whitley Lecture series has been running since 1996 and offers a British Baptist scholar a chance to share a piece of theological work to wide audience. The Whitley Lecture is given at each of the British Baptist Colleges in London, Bristol, Oxford, Cardiff, Manchester, and Glasgow and from 2021 in some format also to the Whitley College, Australia. Sally Nelson has said this about my lecture: In this Lecture, Andy Goodliff offers us a crafted exploration of what a Baptist political theology might be. His argument begins with an overview of Nigel Wright’s discussion of church and state but soon moves into a powerful reflection upon what it means today to inhabit a dissenting ecclesiology, one which says ‘no’ to the power of the state and ‘yes’ to the Lordship of Christ. To be baptised is a political act; to accede to the Declaration of Principle implies a political worldview; to be a member of a Baptist church commits us to an ongoing ‘political discipleship’ in which we constantly engage in reflective conversation with the powers around us. This is a Lecture to stimulate both our thinking and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2021 at andygoodliff
English Pastoral by James Rebanks (Penguin) The Book of Trespass by Nick Hayes (Bloomsbury) Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford (Faber) God is not a White Man by Chine MacDonald (Hodder) All Things Beautiful by Chris Green (Baylor) From Spare Oom to War Drobe by Katherine Langrish (DLT) Karl Barth: A Life in Conflict by Christiane Tietz (Oxford) Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury) Pilgrim Letters by Curtis Freeman (Fortress) Hoiness and Truth by Jessica Martin (Canterbury) The Second Sleep by Robert Harris Postliberal Politics by Adrain Pabst (Polity) Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2021 at andygoodliff
The sad news was shared yesterday that Rev Dr Anthony R. Cross has died. Anthony, aged 59, was one of the most influential Baptists of the last twenty years, not only in his own contributions to Baptist history and thought, in particular the doctrines of baptism and ministry, but as one of the architects of what might be called Baptist studies in the UK. His creating and editing the series Studies in Baptist History and Thought with Paternoster (under the leadership of Jeremy Mudditt and Robin Parry) for over ten years saw a whole set of volumes produced that created a wealth of historical and theological resources. He went on to inaugurate a similar series for the Centre for Baptist History and Heritage, based at Regent's Park College and more recently he had begun a new relationship with Wipf & Stock, seen in Baptist Sacramentalism 3. Anthony's early work was on baptism, beginning with two books edited with Stanley Porter (who was then teaching at the University of Roehampton) and then his own comprehensive history of baptismal theology among English Baptists in the twentieth century, Baptism and the Baptists (2000). His work on baptism would culminate with a second volume,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2021 at andygoodliff
MA (Oxford, 1996), BD (Oxford, 2001), DMin (Chester, 2017) Tutorial Fellow in Pastoral Studies and Community Learning, Regent's Park College, Oxford (2007-) Publications (ed.), Bound for Glory? God, Church and World in Covenant (Whitley, 2002) A Cry in the Darkness: The Forsakeness of Jesus in Scripture, Theology and Experience (Smyth and Helwys, 2002) (ed.) Expecting Justice, but Seeing Bloodshed: Some Baptist Contributions to Following Jesus in a Violent World (Whitley, 2004) (ed.) with Paul S. Fiddes, Flickering Images: Theology and Film in Dialogue (Smyth and Helwys, 2005) 'Gaining Fresh Insights: Film and Theological Reflection in a Pastoral Setting' in Flickering Images: Theology and Film in Dialogue (Smyth and Helwys, 2005) 'Membership Matters: From a Barrier to a Threshold', Baptist Ministers’ Journal (2006) 'A Feast for All? Reflecting on Open Communion for the Contemporary Church' in Baptist Sacramentalism 2 (Paternoster, 2008) (ed.) with Andrew Moore, For the Love of God: Essays in Honour of Paul S. Fiddes (Oxford, 2014) (ed.), For the Sake of the Church: Essays in Honour of Paul S. Fiddes (Regent's Park College, 2014) 'A Trinitarian Theology of Ministerial Formation' in For the Sake of the Church: Essays in Honour of Paul S. Fiddes (Regent's Park College, 2014)... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2021 at andygoodliff
Emma Nash, A Pastoral Theology of Childlessness (SCM, 2021) Emma Nash is a Baptist minister who currently works for the Methodists. In this, her first book, she offers reflections on her experience of being unable to have children. Nash addresses an issue that gets very little attention in society or church. It is very rarely, if ever, talked about. The first strength of this book is it brings it to wider attention and to the pastoral life of the church. In five chapters Nash explores being alone, being in pain, being powerless, being barren, and feeling guilty. The reader is given a personal insight into the journey of those seeking to have children and the struggle and trauma it brings, especially when the end result is an inability to conceive. The testimony brings light to an experience too often hidden. In each of the chapters Nash turns to scripture and finds narratives both helpful and not so helpful. This is a pastoral theology. It has a gentle tone and is easy to read. There were moments when I would have liked the theology reflection to have gone further. There is room perhaps for further theological and pastoral reflection to follow... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2021 at andygoodliff
It was an honour to be invited to the T & T Clark Handbook of Colin Gunton edited by Andrew Picard, Myk Habets and Murray Rae. It is an excellent collection of essays exploring the themes of Gunton's theology (revelation, Trinity, creation, atonement, Christology, etc) and his conversation partners (Ireneaus, Barth, Coleridge, Owen, Jenson, Zizioulas, etc). Contributors include Steve Holmes, Paul Molnar, Christoph Schwöbel, Douglas Farrow, Ivor Davidson, Oliver Crisp and many others. Andrew Walker provides a wonderful foreword. The book will add to the increasing number of monographs on Gunton's work and hopefully see his contribution to theology continued to be engaged with. The chapter I wrote, with my father Paul, is on Gunton's account of ministry and the Christian life. Full details of the book can be found here. Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2021 at andygoodliff
The book version of my PhD is now available. Thanks to the team at Wipf & Stock for the work they've done in the publication process. Thanks also to Michael Haykin and Ron Paul for accepting it to be part of the Monographs in Baptist History series. Thanks to Steve Holmes, my supervisor, for writing the Foreword. My one line summary is 'its a look at what Baptists got upto in the 1990s.' This book is an exploration of the renewal of the Baptist Union of Great Britain in the 1990s, the only historic UK denomination which grew in this period. It was an exciting time, with plenty of denominational activity and engagement, both theological and institutional. The book tells this story focusing on the particular individuals involved and the wide-ranging discussions centered around mission and identity, ministry, associating, and ecumenism. It argues that there were competing visions emerging from two different streams of thought which whilst not divisive caused tension. At the end of the decade structural changes were introduced with hope for the new millennium, but the book contends that opportunities were missed for a more deeply theological renewal. “Baptists have been less affected by declining numbers than... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2021 at andygoodliff
I wonder when was the last time you were interrupted? It might have been someone cutting across you as you were speaking. It might have been a happening that interrupted the way you thought your day was going to go. It was almost definitely the way you thought your Christmas was going to go. The emergence of the virus has interrupted nearly the whole of this year. The Christmas story is a story of interruptions. We begin with Mary. Mary’s busy at home, and is interrupted by an angel, to tell her that her life is going to be interrupted by God and a pregnancy. We turn to Joseph. He’s excited to be getting married, then everything gets interrupted by news that Mary is pregnant, but before he can end things, his dreams get interrupted by an angel again, telling him to hold fast to the marriage. Having barely got to grips with the pregnancy and the marriage, both Mary and Joseph lives get interrupted by Caesar and his census, and a journey they now have to make to Bethlehem. Once at Bethlehem, the baby is born, and then as they are dealing with these first few hours, they get... Continue reading
Posted Dec 25, 2020 at andygoodliff
The latest McClendon Reading Group was on the final chapter of Ethics on Narrative Ethics. We were privileged to have Stanley Hauerwas join us to talk about McClendon's work and connections with his own work. The conversation look at the place of narrative, the differences between McClendon's and Robert Jenson's systematic theologies, the Baptist Vision and more. We start next month with the second volume of McClendon's Systematic Theology on Doctrine. Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2020 at andygoodliff
A prayer inspired by Rabbi Sacks on the news of his death: God of Mercy and Peace we pray with the Persistence of Faith for You to Heal a Fractured World. Grow in us the grace that sees the Dignity of Difference. Teach us that the Home we Build Together should always embody the Politics of Hope, should always be Celebrating Life, and live for the Restoring of the Common Good. In Your Holy Name Amen. Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2020 at andygoodliff
A small group continues to read Jim McClendon's Ethics (volume 1 of his Systematic Theology). Here's the videos for the last two sessions. We will meet in November to reflect on the final chapter of Ethics and the book as a whole, before in December moving on to begin to read volume 2: Doctrine. Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2020 at andygoodliff
The latest gathering of McClendon readers saw us engage with Part One of Ethics, which McClendon calls Embodied Witness, chapters on Body Ethics, Sarah and Jonathan Edwards and Eros: Towards an Ethic of Sexual Love. A few folk we're saying this was the bit of Ethics they struggled with most, some skipping over, but it was interesting to read it nearly 35 years after it was first published. In the chapter on Body Ethics, McClendon turns to what he calls black religion as embodied ethics. In the first of narrative chapters he uses Sarah Edwards, wife of the theologian and pastor Jonathan as another example of an embodied love. And in chapter 5 on Eros, he explores a theology of eros against the backdrop of the myth of romantic love. There is a sense perhaps McClendon was pioneering some of where theology as a discipline has gone in the last thirty years and while there are questions to ask in terms of his presentation of black religion and female narrative, he was doing something that few others were doing at the time. Amy Chilton and Mike Broadway offer brief engagements with this part of the book and this is followed... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2020 at andygoodliff
Here's the latest videos that picks up some discussion of chapter 2 of McClendon's volume on Ethics in his Systematic Theology. Curtis Freeman, Lina Toth and Julian Gotobed give some responses to the chapter in the first video. The second video picks up some wider discussion following smaller zoom breakout groups. Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2020 at andygoodliff
Really pleased to announce the publication of Reconciling Rites, a set of essays honouring the contribution Myra Blyth has made to Baptist life and thought. Myra retires this summer as Chaplain and Tutorial Fellow in Theology and Ecumenical Studies at Regent's Park College, where she started in 2004, having previously been Deputy General Secretary of the Baptist Union and an Executive Director of the World Council of Churches. We presented the book to her this evening, via Robert (her husband) over zoom following her last chapel service. The book seeks to take an important theme in Myra's life and thought — reconciliation — and explore it both in terms of church worship (preaching, baptism eucharist, reading the Bible, prayer, liturgy) and life (spirituality, charity, friendship) and in the world of sport. Those contributing to the book are friends, colleagues and former students: Paul Fiddes, Rob Ellis, Paul Goodliff, Sian Murray-Williams, Helen Dare, Matthew Mills, Keith Clements, Deborah Rooke, Michael Taylor and my co-editors Beth Allison-Glenny and Anthony Clarke. The foreword is written by June Osborne, Bishop of Llandaff, Church in Wales. Its available via Amazon. Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2020 at andygoodliff
36 (from US, Canada, UK, Netherlands and Ukraine) joined the first session looking at Jim McClendon's Systematic Theology, starting with volume 1: Ethics and its first's chapter: 'How Theology Matters'. Some are season McClendon readers and some of us are reading him (properly) for the first time. Responses were given by Andy Goodliff, Beth Newman and Curtis Freeman. Some good conversation in the zoom chat, which spilled over into the conversation, around the importance of McClendon's listening tour of (American) Baptists institutions ahead of writing the first volume (which probably shaped his account of the Baptist vision); the reception history of McClendon in America, Europe and UK; the meaning of 'this is that' and 'then is now' (McClendon's claim for a baptistic hermeneutical principle) and a brief possible commonality between McClendon and Ephraim Radner on figural readings of scripture. We will gathering on zoom again on 14 July to look at Ethics, chapter 2: 'What Sort of Ethics?' (The first two chapters are crucial to understanding McClendon's project) and then again on 19 August to look at Ethics, Part 1: Embodies Witness (ch.3-5). For an invite contact me at andrew [dot] goodliff [at] regents [dot] ox [dot] ac [dot] uk... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2020 at andygoodliff
Sources of Light: Resources for Baptist Churches Practicing Theology edited by Amy L. Chilton and Steven R. Harmon (Mercer, 2020) If Baptists do any theology, they tend to it a local level and see the Holy Spirit as illuminating what is needed to faithful be the church today. This is where Harmon and Chilton begin. I say 'if', because I am not altogether certain that Baptists in English congregations consciously do theology and tend to fall back to the question pragmatically of whatever works — this might include a theology but not one that perhaps bears much sustained reflection. (In the USA my sense there is a practice of what we might call adult Sunday School.) Sources of Light should be seen then as a call to more conscious theological engagement not just with the Bible, but with a plethora of wider sources/voices that take seriously listening to context and to history. It seeks to make more concrete an argument Harmon made in his earlier work Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future. It is an argument in a slightly different form that has been made by Stephen Holmes in his Listening to the Past. Chilton and Harmon as editors have... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2020 at andygoodliff
I once read that ‘Christianity is connections’ [i] and it's a sentence that has lingered in my mind ever since. I’ve found it helpful to talk about the church as a people and a place centred on making connections. There’s always something more to discover, another connection to be made. This way of seeing the church is founded on abundance. That can be a surprising way of describing the church, because more often than not what we can see in church is what we lack, where we’re short, what we don’t have. And so to say the church is founded on abundance is to learn to see the church differently, to look what we have been given, what are the gifts among us and that is to make connections again, to draw every person into the picture, to stop suggesting that some of us are givers and others of us are receivers, but instead all are of us are giving and receiving sharing in the cascade of grace from God through Jesus and the joy of the church is the work of making connections. Why am I talking about making connections on Pentecost Sunday? Because I believe making connections is... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2020 at andygoodliff
James McClendon's Systematic Theology is an astonishing achievement for a Baptist theologian. Other Baptists have written systematic theologies — e.g. Stanley Grenz, James Leo Garrett and Millard Erickson — but McClendon's stands out, for its originality (he starts with ethics before doctrine) and its desire to be baptist. McClendon's work has been received and engaged with by a group of Baptist theologians in the US — e.g. Curtis Freeman, Barry Harvey, Steven Harmon, Beth Newman, Scott Bullard, Jeff Carey, Ryan Andrew Newson — and some in Europe, especially by Parush Parushev at IBTS and now also by VU Amsterdam and its establishment of the James Wm. McClendon Chair for Baptistic and Evangelical Theologies. There has been a more muted reception history in the UK. Its not that McClendon has been ignored, but there perhaps not been the kind of serious engagement that his theology arguably warrants. With this in mind I wondered whether it might be possible to encourage a group to read systematics. It was an idea thrown out which found encouragement from Curtis Freeman and Steven Harmon. The plan is to read a chapter a month and then offer an opportunity to discuss it via a zoom conversation.... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2020 at andygoodliff
If you read this book it will likely be one of your books of the year. Motherhood: A Confession is beautifully written. (In the acknowledgments there is thanks given to Lauren Winner, who has helped so many others with what we might called theological memoirs and has written several herself.) It is a powerful reflection on being a mother and a disciple of Jesus. Inspired by St. Augustine's famous Confessions (well known to many from its early line 'all hearts are restless until they find their rest in you) — Carnes is a professor of theology who has taught the work numerous times — this is very much her own confession. It borrows its shape from Augustine's work, following the chapter themes and in some way it might be considered a commentary, but Carnes brings her own confession on becoming a mother and the impact that has on herself and her faith and of course on her daughter. As she explores motherhood she does in conversation with Augustine, and also scripture (Mary and Martha, the mother of Moses, Mary and Joseph, and more) and with the saints. I must confess I've never read Augustine's Confessions — I have a copy... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2020 at andygoodliff
If we read Acts 2.43–47 I wonder what word is most important after God. This is a short description of the church or perhaps we might say this is a short prescription for the church. It’s full of important words. Here are some potential ones: devoted, teaching, fellowship, bread, prayer, awe, signs, believers, give, home, praising, added. We might say what’s most important is being devoted, its about being committed, being dedicated, being faithful. Your heart’s got to be in it, your body’s got to turn up. We might say what’s most important is teaching. The most important thing is the Bible, reading and understanding it. This is the source of our faith, this is where we find truth and wisdom. We might say what's most important is fellowship, lives being shared, supported, friendships being made and strengthened. We pray for the fellowship found, received and shared in the Holy Spirit. We might say what’s most important is bread, the bread of Communion, the receiving of the bread broken for us. Jesus is the living bread who feeds our faith and nourishes our hope. We might say what’s most important is prayer, the most important thing is a people who... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2020 at andygoodliff
We had hoped. We had hoped that we would be married next month. We had hoped that she would rally and get better. We had hoped that I wouldn’t lose my job. We had hoped that there might have been a way to forgive. We had hoped that the move meant a fresh start. We had hoped that it would be all over by now. We had hope that he was the one to redeem Israel. We had hoped. Three words that capture a truthfulness about our lives at some point, perhaps today. There’s an honesty in these words, there’s no pretence; there’s a facing up to the reality that we are people who invest hope in things, in each other, in God. We invest hope that everything will come together, that we will find a way to overcome a problem, and when it doesn’t, we know the bitterness of hope lost, dashed. We had hoped. When hope gets lost, we head home. Two sad companions are heading home to Emmaus. Stay with us. Stay with us for lunch, for dinner, or for a few days. Stay with us, let’s enjoy time together. Stay with us or in the language... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2020 at andygoodliff
I wonder what kind of week you have had. I wonder how quickly the songs of Easter joy died away in your household. I wonder if Easter itself has felt like no more than a brief interlude in the present difficulty. Easter is a season and yet we often treat it as if it was only a day. The shops start selling off their Easter Eggs and we go back to whatever is normal and carry on as if nothing remarkable happened. Except this year of course for lots of us we don't. In the Easter narrative there are 50 days during which the risen Jesus appears to his followers. And 50 days are only the beginning for these disciples working out how the world has changed and their lives have changed. But we can tick it off in a day. In the church the Sunday after Easter is traditionally called Low Sunday. The exact reason for this is unclear but it seems in part to be a recognition that the highs of Easter celebration couldn't last. It probably fits very well with where we are at the moment. We are still in Easter, we are still a people who... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2020 at andygoodliff