Paula Gooder, well known as a New Testament scholar with a particular interest in Paul, recently published a quite different kind of book. Phoebe is a fictionalised account of the woman named in Romans 16.1, who appears to have been the carrier of Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. Having just read the book, I … Continue Reading
Justin Welby had already left a significant legacy from the first half of his tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury. The swift resolution to the inherited crisis of finding a workable settlement in relation to women bishops; the instigation of the Renewal and Reform programme; reorienting the Church’s administration and finances towards mission; the re-estalishment of evangelism as a priority; the prayer initiative around Thy Kingdom Come; and even the personal success of (just about) ‘putting Wonga out of business’—all these have been significant achievements. There have been frustrations and set-backs to. The discussions about sexuality drag on interminably without any sign of resolution or even a fragile peace breaking out in the war of words; and despite Welby’s intensive efforts at building relationships, trust across the Anglican Communion appears to be at an all-time low.
Welby’s latest book, Reimagining Britain, is an ambitious attempt to picture what Britain might look like, in the light of its present situation, its recent past, and the influence of Christian thinking, in a hopeful future. It is full of detailed analysis across an impressive range of areas, and offers much detailed comment in suggestions of issues that need addressing. But I must confess it left me with more questions than answers.
Vicky Beeching, Undivided: Coming Out, Becoming Whole and Living Free from Shame (William Collins, 2018) Jayne Ozanne, Just Love: A Journey of Self-Acceptance (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2018) Andrew Atherstone writes: In a remarkable symbiosis, two new autobiographies have hit the shelves from two of the Church of England’s most prominent LGBT campaigners, published within a … Continue Reading
The churches in the West face a major challenge of culture and discipleship. The radical changes in culture over the last 30 years or so appear to have taken society further from the values of the gospel, and despite all our efforts, both members and leaders of our churches appear to being formed deeply by … Continue Reading
Every time the situation in Israel-Palestine hits the news, for Christians one of the issues that emerges is whether or not the modern State of Israel is a fulfilment of biblical prophecy. The main prophetic text appealed to is the later chapters of Ezekiel, particularly Ezekiel 39. But in order to understand whether there is … Continue Reading
At present, there are about 850,000 people in the United Kingdom with dementia. This number is expected to rise to one million people by the year 2025. Two-thirds of people with dementia live in the community and are supported by 670,000 family carers. One in 14 people over 65 years of age has dementia, while the … Continue Reading
Is being a follower of Jesus primarily about experiencing and living in God’s love, or primarily about living out the disciplines of discipleship? Is it about knowing that we are loved and accepted as we are, or about the need for change and transformation on the journey from sin to salvation? Is it about allowing … Continue Reading
There is a general, if unspoken, sense that clergy in the Church of England (and often in other denominations too) are indispensable in the local church. And yet this actually sits at odds with the ministry of Jesus and of the early apostolic leadership. This surprising contrast is captured well by the Bishop of Chelmsford, … Continue Reading
Last week I posted a link to a review of Richard Rohr’s The Divine Dance, written by Fred Sanders in 2016 soon after Rohr’s book was published. Sanders is well-known as a conservative theologian specialising on the question of the Trinity, and his review was pretty scathing—leading to my (slightly) tongue in cheek heading ‘Just … Continue Reading
My latest Grove booklet is on How to Interpret the Bible. After exploring the four questions of genre (kind of writing), (historical) context, content and canon, I offer the following conclusion. You might by now be wondering ‘What happened to simple, believing reading of the Bible that I was taught to do when I first came … Continue Reading
Many ordinary readers of the Bible feel very nervous when interpretation is mentioned. For some, ‘interpretation’ means ‘making the Bible mean what it doesn’t say.’ For others, it becomes the realm of experts who are schooled in complex issues of language and philosophy and threatens to remove the possibility of reading for themselves. They are … Continue Reading