Editorial by Anthony Woollard
from Signs of the Times No. 67 - Oct 2017

An odd heading, perhaps, for an edition published in October, but we are at the beginning of a new academic year and not far from the start of the Church’s year (I have marked the latter by the inclusion of a book review from David Driscoll).

And, after a dramatic summer in the history of our nation, and so many developments in the life of our Church and of Modern Church itself, this is surely a good time to think about a fresh start.

by Helen Burnett
from Signs of the Times No. 67 - Oct 2017

Modern Church Conference is a much-needed annual theological tonic for many liberal-minded folk and the 2017 offering was no exception. Conference was at full capacity and we were glad to welcome newcomers to High Leigh along with two very able student helpers.

The conference, chaired by Prof Linda Woodhead and Revd Prof Jane Shaw, benefitted from a vibrant double act in which discussions, often stimulated by their joint response to speakers, and the dialogue the two brought to the subject. As friends and colleagues well used to using conversation as means of teaching and exploring ideas they brought a fresh dynamic to chairing the conference.

by Adrian Thatcher
from Signs of the Times No. 67 - Oct 2017

The battle for gender equality in the last 50 years has seen the deployment of a range of concepts, such as persons and relations, identity and difference, equality and diversity.

But these concepts also lie at the very core of the doctrine of the Trinity. I argue the connection is far from accidental.

Is there a transcending source or ultimate configuration of reality in which the hope for peaceable relations for women and men, expressed by the use of these concepts finds its ultimate fulfilment? I argue there is: the Trinity is the fulfilment of that hope.

You can download the full version from my website, or listen on the Modern Church website.


by Robert Reiss
from Signs of the Times No. 67 - Oct 2017

One of the most interesting parts of this year’s conference for me was the discussion about Christology that followed Adrian Thatcher’s talk on trinitarian theology.

What does it really mean to say that all three persons of the Trinity are equally divine?

The Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees, starts his book Our Cosmic Habitat:

‘The pre-eminent mystery is why anything exists at all.’

by David Storey
from Signs of the Times No. 67 - Oct 2017

 My reaction on getting home from Modern Church's 2017 conference and looking at my bookshelves was to say where was John Hick?

To me he has been the primary source on Philosophy and the Church. I picked up his The Fifth Dimension (1999/2004 One World Publications, Oxford). Turning to chapter 25, ‘What we don’t need to know’, there is a good introduction of how faiths have developed and aspects that we should now grow out of, but then moving to ‘What then do we need to know?’ starting with ‘how to live here and now’. Whilst speculations divide, considerations of moral principles unite. We need a world as near as heaven as we can create, along with the world’s creator.