Davie was requested to give an Evangelical response to the ARCIC document "Mary – Grace and Hope in Christ". He here offers a helpful introduction to the report’s contents and central conclusions. Davie highlights seven elements in it that Evangelicals could welcome. However, he also notes problems with its argument and, in particular, its claims to have made advances in agreement in relation to the Marian dogmas that divide Anglicans and Roman Catholics.
The aim of this article is to offer a possible Christian theological approach to counseling. The author first gives an overview of different perspectives on applying the insights of counseling psychology to the practice of Christian counseling and caring. With this as his background, the author sketches an approach to counseling which keeps the concept of covenant at its core.
A History of the Church in Africa by Bengt Sundkler and Christopher Steed is reviewed. In 1900 the Christian population of Africa was estimated at 4 million out of a total of 118 million people. Roman Catholics were estimated at 1 million, Protestants at 1 million and Coptic-Orthodox at 2 million. This picture has changed radically. Today Christians amount to some 351 million out of 770 million.
The world of two contemporary Anglicans, Mark Stibbe and Ray Simpson is examined. Their work reveals radically divergent understandings of the origin, motivation, context and scope of mission.
Beginning with the biblical witness, Cathy Ross explores the character of hospitality. She shows how it can function as a powerful metaphor for mission. We are encouraged and enabled to reflect on the importance of shared meals and being at the margins, the need to see and respect the guest and stranger as other.
Margaret Masson offers a brief comment on the wider debate the Harry Potter books of J K Rowling have aroused among evangelical Christians. She argues that much of the negative reaction to the stories is misplaced, and that the moral universe they contain is fundamentally sympathetic to a Christian understanding.
What does it mean that the the church must be "always reforming"? This is a call expressed in the well-known saying ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda. In this article Andrew Atherstone argues that the motto lays down a challenge to both radicals and conservatives in today’s church. It is a motto which sums up the sense of restless and continual energy of the church reforming seeking to be what the Lord wants her to be.
This article compares the recorded teachings of Jesus to what is now known about the teaching of rabbis in the first half of the first century. The author looks at three examples: prayer, divorce and earthly rewards. Knowledge of the Rabbinic teachings is used to illuminate the meaning of the recorded words of Jesus.
The societies featured in the Bible almost all practiced some form of slavery. When we understand the background to the economic and social life of those societies, whether slavery, marriage or land ownership, it can illuminate the practical and theological implications of the text. This article brings together some of the recent debates and conclusions focusing, particularly on slavery in the New Testament, giving particular attention to Paul’s letter to Philemon.
The author of this article discusses the issue of racism within the Church of England.
The major works of Roland Allen is reviewed in this article. Allen (1868-1947) served as a missionary in North China until ill-health sent him home. After a few years in parish ministry, he spent the rest of his life in research and writing. Largely ignored in his lifetime, by the 1960's Allen had become a household name among missiologists.
Bauckham discusses the importance of having a Christian eschatology which looks forward to the new creation promised by God, but also works for change in the present.
The idea of the individual has long been central in most societies. This article looks at the role and place of the individual and individualism in the Bible. In the Old Testament, the prophets Ezekiel and Jeremiah emphasize the importance of the individual, highlighting that each individual is accountable for his own sin. This article discusses prophetic individuality as a recurring theme in Scripture, which finds its fulfillment in Christ as the One that died for the whole people.
This article introduces ten volumes on church life in Sudan. While the authors are from within the church, their first purpose is not to give a fair as possible view on the story as a whole. It is evident that the account in these books has a purpose beyond the dispassionate recounting of history. Perversely to its opponents, the Sudanese church often demonstrated courage under persecution and has even grown in the face of persecution.
The role of the Confessing Church in Germany during the Nazis' rise to power constitutes one of the most fascinating phenomena in modern church history. Its development and partial disintegration raise crucial issues for the church in every era. The lessons to be learnt are relevant far beyond the boundaries of Germany. This article first presents a brief outline of the history of the Confessing Church and its struggle with the evils of National Socialism.
Storkey provides a guide to resources for further study and action in relation to justice. He offers a review of evangelical and other Christian literature surrounding the theme. Our Christian approaches to justice have often been partial or limited. Having a fuller perspective is a requirement of our Christian calling. This essay includes a number of opinions which really need more debate and is an aid to those who want to engage with the justice of God more deeply.
Our contemporary preaching of the gospel message would be improved by making better use of the much neglected and misunderstood subject of divine judgment. The breadth of the biblical use of judgment is considered in this article and it is argued that judgment as a metaphor of atonement provides the wider context in which penal substitution should be understood. The metaphor of judgment can also be a means of coordinating disparate biblical images of the atonement.
The author of this article shares his and his family's experience with unemployment in order to raise awareness about this struggle. He also reflects on how they were helped to view their whole experience spiritually.
Bowen explores the way in which John's Gospel describes the process of coming to faith. He considers the cases of the woman at the well, the crowd, the first disciples, Nicodemus and the blind man. Bowen argues that this gospel offers vital insights into people's journey to faith. This sheds light on contemporary understandings of evangelism and apologetics.
Hartropp looks at the inadequacies of neo-classical economics. He compares it to the great Christian tradition of just price theory and examines the resurgence of just price economics in the Fair Trade Movement. Prices paid and received in markets should reflect justice to all the participants. Prices can be too low or too high.
This a review article of an important book of Richard A Burridge on the imitation of Christ as an approach to New Testament Christian living. Burridge thinks that people who wrote on imitation before him in their analysis of the ethical teaching in the Gospels tends to be abstracted from what Jesus did. Jesus’ actions throw light on his words and vice-versa.
What is the Church's primary calling and mission?
In this article, Paul Weston looks at some key ideas around practicing evangelism, reminding the reader of the pattern of the New Testament.
In this article comprehensive introduction to the subject of Spiritual Direction is given. The author outlines the purpose, processes and content of Spiritual Direction. She further explores various models for understanding the practice of one person meeting with another for guidance and companionship.
A claim is often made regarding the relative unimportance of sexual ethics to Jesus and his apparent silence in relation to same-sex sexual (homosexuality) activity. John Nolland examines and presents a helpful survey of the Gospels’ witness to Jesus’ teaching in this area. He explores the New Testament’s terminology in both the gospels and some of the relevant Pauline material.
A plea is offered for a return to the city. The author argues the reasons for practical theology to be restored to the city, he advocates reasons why this is not proving an easy thing to achieve and makes proposals for a future that features a reinvigorated church for urban mission. When urban needs are given priority in churches outside the city, they die under a thousand qualifications. If the church is to reconnect with the city, the mission of Jesus will be clarified and amplified.
Lesslie Newbigin has written a few works on the concept of the gospel as public truth. This concept emphasizes the factual basis of Christianity, and encourages Christians to be confident to engage in rational public discourse with Scripture as their basis. This article tries to envisage what Newbigin's proposal might mean. Criticism, questions and suggestions for modification of Newbigin's work are given with the intention of carrying the program forward.
Does the New Testament quote the Old Testament out of context? Does the New Testament change the meaning of the Old Testament Scripture which is quoted? This article looks critically at the issue of intertextuality.
This article looks at the life and legacy of William Tyndale, and his work of translating the Bible into English.
This article is about spirituality - what is it, and do we need it? The author maintains that we need an applicable biblical spirituality, and discusses how we can grow in this.
How should we evaluate inter faith dialogue? In this article an analysis is offered of the report prepared by the Inter-Faith Consultative Group of the Board for Mission and Unity, at the request of the General Synod of the Anglican Church in 1981. This article gives useful principles for the contact with other religions.
The field of human genetics is vast, involving many different technologies, offering many possibilities. The field of human genetics is also moving at great speed. Each day new genes are discovered, new sequences published and new therapies suggested. Christian theology is not called to respond in a superficial way to every new discovery. The article suggests how the church should respond from an ethical, pastoral and theological perspective.
This is the third in a series of articles looking at the issues raised by modern research into the "historical Jesus". The first part was a general overview looking at the work of key writers such as Marcus Borg, E. P. Sanders and the work of the Jesus Seminar. A second part looked in more detail at the work of N.T. Wright with special reference to his book "Jesus and the Victory of God".
This article discusses the practice of cohabitation, or living together as an unmarried couple.
This article is concerned with the part that the Bible plays in the formation of Christians, especially those called to leadership ministry. How can we read the Bible and have it form us, without bringing our own pre-formed agendas to the text? The many challenges in reading the Bible on its own terms is noted, not least laying aside modern categories for enquiry.
In an earlier article the work of some of the key contributors to the debate about the historical Jesus in the last 20 years was noted. This present article now focuses exclusively on the work of N.T.Wright. Wright's work is a breath-taking, magisterial accomplishment, grounded in a careful historical reasoning and deeply rich in theological consequences. He has established a new paradigm for the debate and no work in this field hereafter will be able to by-pass his work.
Contemporary western culture has become very subjective. How can Christians continue to practice evangelism in such a culture?
David Bosch developed the concept of "creative tension" in his influential book Transforming Mission. He explores the polarities held in tension when the Church engages in post-modern mission. The influence of Bosch's thinking on others writing on mission and evangelism through the last decade is assessed and the way opposing absolutes can be held together is described.
This article introduces five books that are particularly useful for youth ministry.
"Historical Jesus" work is important. Just because we do not like the reconstruction of others who set about the task with different presuppositions, does not negate our responsibility to think about Jesus not just theologically but also from a historical perspective. Much of this work is being done in North America. This article tries to cover most of the works written in this field, concentrating on some of the leading writers in North America.
The New Testament frequently quotes the Old Testament. How can we best understand this?
Despite a context of struggle and persecution, the church in the Sudan has continued to grow, both spiritually and numerically. The author, who has spent several years living and working in Sudan with the Church Mission Society, reflects on what Christians worldwide might learn from the experience of the Sudanese church. "But God is not defeated!" is the refrain famous in Sudan as used by Ezra Lawiri.
This article introduces a theological perspective on politics.
Congregations, so long the normative form of church life, are under threat. Haddon Willmer demonstrates how the threats come from social and economic forces. The situation is made worse by the internal loss of bearings in churches themselves. In particular he identifies the flight from a critical intellectual life and the problems of inculturating faith in our twenty-first century world.
Nolland studies Matthew 5:43-48 and other key texts that highlights the command to love our enemies as a priority in Christian discipleship. He further sheds light on Jesus’ teaching by setting it in the wider context not only of Matthew’s gospel but also of the ancient world and the Old Testament. He demonstrates that, without being critical of the Old Testament, Jesus radically extends its teaching.
The purpose of this article on authority is threefold. In the first place it discusses the nature and excellence of authority in general, and the authority that historic Christianity has ascribed to the Creator in particular. Secondly, it points to some of the ways the Western world has turned from God's authority. Finally, it discusses how Christianity might be able to re-establish authority in the world today.
This is an extended review of N T Wright’s important book The Resurrection of the Son of God. The book has two main aims. First to reassert that the authors of the New Testament believed that Jesus was raised bodily from the dead. Second to clarify the authors’ understanding of resurrection for those who believe in Jesus.
This article is a review of the important "The Mission of God" of Chris Wright. In his book Wright himself offers a point at which his own work might be assessed when he writes: "I would ask that the missional framework I propose in this volume be evaluated for its heuristic fruitfulness. Does it in fact do justice to the overall thrust of the biblical canon? Does it illuminate and clarify? Does it offer a way of articulating the coherence of the Bible’s overarching message?".
This is a review of the work The Fundamentals, which is a collection of essays defending the basic ideas of the Christian faith.
Social responsibility is highly regarded by many Christians today. Biblical motivation for social responsibility is often found in the Old Testament or in Jesus' teaching. This author maintains that the apostle Paul's theology also includes the concepts of justice, care for the oppressed, and care for creation.