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Modern Believing editorial October 2014

by Jonathan Clatworthy
from Modern Believing Vol 55:4 - October 2014

This editorial is much longer than usual as it provides an account of Modern Church’s foundation. We have therefore divided it into sections. To navigate, click on the headings on the right or the 'Prev / Next' buttons at the foot of each section.


Liberal Theology

This edition of Modern Believing focuses on liberal theology. From the start, promoting liberal theology was the objective of Modern Church and its journal; the bulk of this Editorial describes the ideas motivating our foundation in 1898, ideas which are very much alive today.

We have now been doing it for over a century. What people mean by the word ‘liberal’ has varied immensely, so we owe it to our readers to express from time to time the kind of liberalism we engage with.

We owe to the last editor, Adrian Thatcher, the idea of asking every member of the Editorial Board to write a short article on the subject. Apart from that we did not provide guidelines. Each author has been given a free hand to approach the topic from their own perspective. There has been no editorial cutting and pasting so the result is what you see.

We think it has worked well, and we hope you agree. As befits the topic, the variety shows that liberalism can be understood in many different ways. On the one hand a theologian may support some aspects of it while opposing others; on the other hand there are some central ideas which do not go away.

Some authors have provided an overview. To Marilyn Adams, truth is one because we are metaphysical realists. Liberals resist intellectual compartmentalisation. We accept that we are intellectually and morally fallible, and therefore politically challenged. Martyn Percy describes liberalism as individualist, egalitarian, universalist and meliorist: ‘To be a liberal theologian today is to be a brave liberator, loyal dissenter and faithful friend of the Church’. Keith Ward offers four main liberal principles: diversity of interpretation, historical reformulation, the fallibility of knowledge and the importance of personal experience and human flourishing. To Susannah Cornwall, liberal Christianity seeks to test Christian claims and hold them alongside other knowledge. There is strength in acknowledging inadequacy. We need to pay attention to context and be circumspect about certainty.

Some have provided a closer focus on specific features of liberalism. Diarmaid MacCulloch addresses authority. Roman Catholicism, Evangelicalism, Pentecostalism and Orthodoxy are ill-adapted to deal with changes but liberal theologians can do better. Miranda Threlfall-Holmes takes a Christological, incarnational approach. Christianity was diverse from the start, inevitably, as it is contained in a person, not a book. Truth lies primarily in relationship rather than doctrine. George Newlands describes liberalism as a basis for human rights and Christian practice. Critique of the Enlightenment is itself a product of the Enlightenment’s critical rationality. ‘Liberalism has its difficulties: its absence often makes space for tolerance of the intolerable.’

On a more conceptual theme, Duncan Dormor argues that liberal theology must challenge the secular-religious divide, which can present religion as just one more social activity, like sport. Liberal theology must be prepared to unpick categories. Steven Shakespeare sees liberal theology as pluralistic and without essence. It should be partial: ‘If theology does not serve the liberation of flesh and blood human beings, it is part of the problem’. John Barton characterises liberalism in theology as a way to ‘be a Christian and also be sensible’. He draws on Richard Hooker, and before him the Jewish rabbinic tradition, in support of the idea that ‘God has shown us what is essential for our faith ... but has not given us the small print. This we have to work out for ourselves: prayerfully but also rationally’.

Some, while valuing certain aspects of liberalism, have challenged others. Tom Hughson’s overview values liberalism’s historical consciousness, its emphasis on experience and subjectivity, the welcome it gives to knowledge from other sources and its support for social justice. On the other hand liberal theology is modern, and modernity is about superiority to predecessors. Similarly James Tengatenga describes the liberalism prevalent today as hegemonic, mono-linguistic and oblivious to context. True liberalism is malleable and post-modernist, and welcomes new forms of thought. Mark Chapman believes that demythologising and rejecting the supernatural is a high risk strategy. He prefers a humble theology, seeking to approximate to what is beyond human grasp. As churchgoing declines he offers suggestions for a new approach to maintaining churches. Andrew Linzey criticises a variety of liberal theological positions, but nevertheless wants to be part of a liberal church which encourages questioning and criticism in an open-ended search for truth. We must ‘reject authoritarianism even if it defends some things we hold dear’.

Given that there was no attempt to coordinate the contributions, it is remarkable how some central themes stand out. Perhaps the disagreements are greatest regarding the conceptual, metaphysical character of liberal theology. Regarding its method, there is much stress on the need for its openness to change and willingness to learn from new sources of insight. There is also much practical concern for engagement with society, especially with respect for social justice.

These articles, of course, are about liberal theology. Liberal politics and liberal economics are another matter, though there may be points of contact. Even among theologians the word ‘liberal’ can have many connotations; as Marilyn Adams has noted, for some it is a boo word. In some church circles, especially where uniformity of belief is expected, a liberal is anyone who disagrees with oneself. In the USA, but not in the UK, liberalism characteristically demands separation of church from state. We should expect theological liberals to disagree with each other since we value the freedom to think for ourselves.

My own contributions to this theme are published elsewhere and are not reproduced here. What follows in the remainder of this Editorial is a study of the concerns which led our predecessors in 1898 to set up the organisation now known as Modern Church. We think it makes a suitable contribution to this edition; in addition, when we note how the concerns of their time resonate today, it makes quite an advertisement for Modern Church, its journal and its liberal theology.


Modern Church Then and Now

Modern Church was originally founded in 1898 under the name of The Churchmen’s Union for the Advancement of Liberal Religious Thought. Our founders described themselves as liberal, or ‘Broad Church’, or progressive.

After some correspondence in the Church Gazette, seventeen people attended a meeting on 27th July, chaired by The Rev. H. G. Rosedale. A second meeting took place on 29th September. According to the report,

the meeting was intended to be a private one for the interchange of ideas, but owing to an excess of zeal on the part of an official, reporters had been invited. On the mistake being pointed out, these gentlemen most courteously retired.[1]

Would reporters from the press retire so meekly today, one wonders? In any case this meeting planned the Inaugural Meeting of the new Union, which took place on 31st October.

The case for the new Union was promoted by the Church Gazette. The Editor, the Rev. William Routh, appears to have had a keen eye for the theological issues. What follows is a summary of the case being made for the new Union during 1898, much of it probably written by Routh himself.

Stronger voice for liberals

Liberals felt they needed a stronger voice. Rosedale wrote:

As by far the larger proportion of learned and highly accomplished clergy and Church laity belong to this school of thought, I am sanguine enough to believe that their deliberations would not be futile.

An editorial comment remarked:

It is particularly wanted, because, so far, Liberals have been scattered, and have lost most of their influence by their inability to write.[2]

The following week The Rev. E. N. Hoare replied:

You say that Liberals, being scattered, have lost influence. Have they not also lost heart? There may be more Liberalism in the air than there was thirty years ago; but it needs to be concentrated – condensed. We have no leaders now. In patience we have possessed our souls. We have cherished the lessons that Maurice and Robertson and Kingsley and Stanley taught us (not to speak of that “Enquiring Spirit” that long since illumined, for some of us, the old formula – “I believe in the Holy Ghost”). But these men are no longer with us; and in vain do we seek for him on whom the mantle of one of these prophets may have fallen... It may also be that many silently hold today what poor Bishop Colenso was denounced for promulgating a generation ago; but who, even now, will give frank credit to the man who compelled them to think?[3]

In the report on the Inaugural Meeting, the two most pressing issues were described as

the defence of the Church, coupled with its reform from within, and the formation of a platform upon which both parties of extremists can meet.

The Clerical Secretary, The Rev. T. P. Brocklehurst,

emphasised that the main object of the Union, in his view, lay in the power it would possess to prevent the falling away of the educated layman from the Church, and he hoped it might go far to bring back some of those who had left it through the feeling that the Church was out of touch with the spirit of the age.

As for the general mood of the meeting,

One speaker after another dwelt on the isolation which is the lot of liberal thinkers, especially in the country, and welcomed a Union which would bring them into touch, and make them parts of a great whole. Everyone, however, agreed with the chairman in deprecating the formation of a new “party”, with all its shibboleths and trade marks, but that the Union has no intention of forming.[4]

Resistance to dogmatism

They were concerned about a range of issues, underlying which was the need to defend freedom of thought against dogmatism. According to the Minutes the first resolution of the 27th July meeting was

that this meeting desires to express its sense of the necessity of taking steps in order to unite the body of churchmen who consider that dogma is susceptible of re-interpretation and re-statement in accordance with the clearer perception of truth by discovery and research.

To reinterpret or re-state is not to reject; perhaps the wording was influenced by those anxious not to sound too outlandish. The Church Gazette’s report was blunter:

The Church’s need of comprehensive religious thought was unanimously affirmed. The affirmation of this principle was declared to be especially called for at a time when there was a formidable reactionary movement within the Church in favour of crystallised dogmatism and ecclesiasticism...
“Anyone who thinks at all,” said one speaker, “must realise that our very perceptions of truth are undergoing a process of unfoldment. Every day, from the scientific world, truth is coming that must affect dogmatic authority. In the science of medicine, appeal is not made to the medical authorities of the Middle Ages. So with other affairs of life. Why, then, with due respect to the Councils of the Church in the past, should we be tied by these? Surely, loyalty to our faith and its underlying spirit does not require us to believe only in a God who moved in the past and not in the present. If the Church declines to pay heed to present-day revelations of truth in the domain of science, and to keep pace with the progress of enlightenment in respect of social questions, the loss will be her own. Yet, strange to say, at the very time when an intelligent, sympathetic application of Christian truth is imperatively called for, we have, within the Church, a decidedly backward movement. It has been a painful revelation to us that our church comprises a section which, under the name of ‘religious education’, would force crude and repellent dogmatism on poor little children: scholars are unable to understand it at the time, and are revolted by it and resentful of it when they are old enough to understand.”

The Editorial agrees:

The object of [the Broad Churchman’s] thought is not destructive, but ultimately constructive. If it were desired to repair or rebuild an ancient structure so as to bring it up to the requirements of the present time, it would be needful to commence by removing heavy overgrowths, however picturesque, as well as of unsound work, along with vast accumulations of rubbish. Similarly, in trying to bring the Christian edifice up to date, it is found that before adding to it in any way is possible, there must be a ruthless clearance of the overgrowths of aberglaube [superstition], as well as of the accumulations of mere ecclesiastical tradition, and that wherever walls which were thought to be sound are found, on examination, to be shaken and tottering, they must be completely demolished in order to reach a firm foundation for subsequent building upon. Thus to a Broad Churchman the destructive process is necessary, but only for the sake of replacing what is ready to fall by something grounded on a firm basis.[5]

Declining faith was most noticeable among the more educated sections of society. The second resolution of the 27th July meeting was

that in order to prevent the falling away of the thoughtful and educated from the Church, this meeting pledges itself to support an organisation which shall unite together all such churchmen.

The Church Gazette reported:

The Church, it was regretfully acknowledged, lagged behind the intelligence of the age. Thinking men were disposed to be either contemptuous or indifferent, because they felt that they were not ingenuously treated. Even educated women were far from being satisfied with mere ceremonial emotionalism, nor were they disposed to accept the dogmatic presentation of religion. Instead of taking their opinions ready made from what claimed to be authority, they required that religious truths shall be elucidated in such a way as to afford intellectual conviction. Admitting that, at present, theological progressives were a minority among the clergy, it was confidently assumed that the overwhelming majority of the laity were on the side of progress... The laity declined to be fettered by the dead past, and required recognition for the living truths of today.[6]

Ecumenism

In the preparations for the July meeting Rosedale argued that a society of liberals would help towards church unity:

This much-longed-for event [church unity] will be greatly facilitated by a closer unity among the liberal-minded laity and clergy. Those who have something in common with all sections of English Christianity are most likely to prove a link to unite all.

He explained his reasoning:

For instance, it seems to me that, whilst we cannot see our way to supporting the extravagances, nor submitting to the unsubstantiated “authority” of one section, we admire and strive to imitate its zeal and activity, and, indeed, desire to carry much farther its own theory of “oneness”, by promoting a desire for unity in diversity. With regard to another extreme section of our Anglican Church, while believing that “narrowness and exclusiveness” are ever detrimental to religious progress, and whilst utterly disagreeing with those who desire to cripple investigation or limit our right to wider opinions than were current some hundred years ago, we gladly clasp hands on them over the emphasis they give to certain “fundamentals”, and most heartily agree with them that religion does not lie in “externals”; we claim, too, that depth and sincerity are of primary importance. With regard to those outside our communion, we entertain no animosity. They have their vocation, and we believe in a “unity in diversity”.
In view of these facts it seems to me that there is no body so likely to be used by God in the special work of healing the ‘unhappy divisions’ as the body of liberal-minded clergy sometimes (I think unsuitably) called the Broad Church Party...[7]

Similarly, according to the Church Gazette those who attended the 29th September meeting

were unanimous... in insisting that nothing of truth should be given up, and that, in order to do this, it was necessary to spare no pains to discovery of truth. It was urged that the only thing that could heal the differences at present so rife and destructive was to unify the thought of the Church, and that this could only be done by really liberal thinking in religious matters. The Union would form a common platform for men of diverse views, and would emancipate the Church from the reproach so often made against it of being dominated by narrow-minded factions...[8]

Thus diversity of belief needed to be defended:

Till now men of Broad views have weakly allowed themselves to be half ashamed of their principles before others, knowing that such principles were in a minority, and besides would be often misunderstood. They have, therefore, kept these ideas mostly to themselves, and so many are genuinely in the dark about them. We think that the time for all this is now clearly at an end. Progressives in religious thought must no longer dissemble views which, within their own souls, they hold to be truth...
With reference to any question raised, a Broad Churchman maintains his right to approach it without being in any way bound to arrive, sooner or later, at some predetermined conclusion. The position is essentially fundamental, because it is useless to think at all unless thought is free, and can take its own course irrespective of public opinion, or even of disabilities often resulting. In itself this position is simply impregnable, for, unless a man has the unhappy facility of keeping his theological thought in a watertight compartment, well sundered from the other thoughts of his life, there is no other attitude even possible. The Broad Churchman will, at any rate, have nothing to do with the compartment theory.
Yet there are drawbacks, here to be candidly confessed. For starting on the same premises, and even on the same principles of treating them, it is not found in this world that all will arrive at exactly the same conclusions. Thus, while all High Churchmen think the same, or nearly so, and all Low Churchmen seem to be quite uniform in belief, we must admit that in the progressive ranks there is plenty of variety of opinion. But, after all, perhaps these varieties are healthy and all for the best, especially among those who have a true faith in the prevalence of truth over error.[9]

Other issues

If these were the core concerns of those who founded what is now Modern Church, the Church Gazette briefly noted their relevance to a variety of other issues.

The Bible
While rendering all fitting reverence to the Bible, a Broad Churchman absolutely declines to be enslaved by it, or by any other volume or document whatever; because he holds that there is no manual in existence which possesses supreme or final authority.[10]
Ordination oaths
[The Broad Churchman] firmly holds that no one can honestly take such oaths except in their principal sense, generally regarded; but that no one can or does at that period accept any responsibility as to what he may see reason to believe in ten or twenty years’ time.[11]
Objective truth
He considers that there is such a thing as Absolute Truth: but that this is known, and can be known, only to the Deity. That there is also such a thing as Relative Truth, and that this latter is the only form in which truth is knowable by man. That Relative Truth, as apprehended at any given time, must be always approximating nearer and nearer to the absolute standard which yet it never actually reaches; and, therefore, that truth, as known by man, must always be progressive, just as history shows that it always has been. He therefore refuses to be tied back to any fixed standard, either of the present age or of past ages; but regards all such standards as embodying the best conceptions of truth which were attainable in their own day.[12]
Progressive inspiration
Just as he holds with a continuous advance in knowledge of truth, so he believes there is a continuous inspiration which promotes it. He does not deny that such inspiration may have acted with special power at one particular period, or at several different periods, but he refuses to believe that it was confined to certain portions of history, or that it was finally withdrawn from the world about A.D. 90. He maintains that such influence has extended throughout the whole of time, and is as truly operative now as at any previous age, and that it exerts itself not only in influencing views directly connected with religion proper, but has its domain throughout the entire range of thought.[13]
Spirituality
He is not wanting in spirituality, though rarely indulging in the cant expressions which are so often used as a mere substitute for it, and which, being employed at second-hand, have come to lose their edge. On the contrary, his contention is consistently on behalf of the supremacy of spirit over letter, and thus, without spirituality of the genuine kind, he has no locus standi at all.[14]
Ecclesiastical discipline
Another object of the proposed Union was to deal with matters of discipline, so that if men were persecuted for the maintenance of liberal views there would be a means for them to turn for help.[15]

Then and Now

On reading these arguments one is struck by the similarities with today, though there are differences. They sought to oppose three movements: dogmatic catholicism, dogmatic evangelicalism and atheism. The opposition to atheism is not as clearly expressed, but it would be anachronistic to imagine that they were sympathetic to unbelief; only in the 1960s was liberal theology associated with it, through the ‘God is Dead’ movement. In the 1890s the emphasis was on how they differed from dogmatic catholics and evangelicals, and one of the key differences was in the way they responded to the threat of atheism.

By calling themselves ‘liberal’ they claimed freedom of thought to judge on their merits the new ideas of the nineteenth century, such as evolution and critical scholarship of the bible; in keeping with the Enlightenment spirit, traditional doctrines were to be no more authoritative than the evidence in their favour.

The term ‘Broad Church’ referred to a faction within the Church of England with a longer history, going back at least to the Latitudinarians and arguably to Elizabeth I. This movement sought comprehensiveness of doctrine, so that one church could incorporate as many people as possible. Thus although being liberal did not mean the same as being Broad Church, the two fitted together: the Broad Church desire for comprehensiveness provided the framework for judging new ideas on their merits even when they contradicted earlier doctrines.

Now, as then, liberal Christian voices are publicly heard far less than dogmatic ones. There are many reasons: the mass media’s love of sensationalism and extremes, the anxiety of church leaders to avoid offending dogmatists, the greater tendency for extremists to be single-issue campaigners. Once again the resources available to liberal organisations like Modern Church is a drop in the ocean compared with those available to more dogmatic organisations. In the intervening years it was not always the case.

The report of ‘the isolation which is the lot of liberal thinkers, especially in the country’ is often echoed today by Modern Church members. So also is the corollary: that while it is desirable to bring liberals together to share their views and provide mutual support, there is less enthusiasm for setting up a church party of liberals to rival the catholic and evangelical parties. In any case liberals, because they think for themselves, are rarely party loyalists.


Dogmatism

Perhaps the most obvious similarity between Modern Church then and now is the resistance to dogmatism. It has been on the rise again since the 1970s and once again popular sentiment, both for and against, perceives Christianity as a dogmatic enterprise committed to its own teachings regardless of evidence to the contrary. Church leaders, even when they do not agree, permit this view to continue unchallenged. Recently, the UK has seen religious organisations successfully lobbying for exemption from equal opportunities legislation in order to continue discriminating against women and homosexuals, thus once again giving the wider society cause to judge Christianity immoral. The perception of Christianity as anti-evolutionist was widely disseminated in ‘Darwin year’, 2009, with the mass media publishing precious few pro-evolution Christian voices, but church leaders rarely rose to the challenge.

We can see from the quotations above a concern to oppose two types of dogmatism. One, usually called fundamentalism, insists that Christian dogma provides truths about reality as a whole, not just about spiritual matters. It is best known for believing that the world was made in six days and denying evolution, but there have been many variants, using particular biblical texts to refute particular scientific theories. The other type is the dualistic retreat, which limits Christian dogma to spiritual matters and allows other matters to be decided by science. This is the approach rejected above as ‘the compartment theory’. Both types are still very much part of the religious scene today.

Dogmatism as a reaction to atheism

Throughout the nineteenth century there had been a growing belief that science had disproved, or would disprove, religious belief. In reality pure science only refuted the ‘God of the gaps’ argument (that there must be a God to explain what science could not explain); more influential was positivist philosophy (that unobservables like God do not exist) and, probably most influential of all, moral revulsion at many traditional doctrines like hell. With atheism on the increase the faithful were naturally anxious. Societies often respond to anxiety by reaffirming the simple certainties of an earlier age, and this is what nineteenth century evangelical and catholic dogmatists did. Liberals rightly believed that this only made matters worse; those simple certainties contained many of the reasons for rejecting Christianity. Better to acknowledge that neither pope nor bible is infallible, and allow modern insights to inform Christian believing. To stem the atheist tide the Church should develop an educated apologetic supported by rational arguments and the best available evidence.

Today atheism is in retreat. The dogmatisms we now face are reactions against cultural change, with a greater focus on moral values. The revived interest in spiritual matters has benefited other religious traditions rather than Christianity. Once again an up to date, well informed apology is needed, but the focus should be wider: not just on arguments for believing in God but in drawing out the value of Christian ideas as compared with the ideas of other traditions.

Dogmatism and education

Rosedale’s claim that ‘by far the larger proportion of learned and highly accomplished clergy and Church laity belong to this [liberal] school of thought’ reveals his view that those with higher educational standards were more likely to accept the findings of contemporary research and therefore to be liberals in religion if they did not lose their faith altogether. Earlier in the nineteenth century the matter had not been so clear; leading scientists had defended both sides in the debate on geology and Noah’s Flood, and even the 1860s evolution debate. By the 1890s, however, it had become clear that many traditional Christian beliefs were in error; we can see in retrospect that those determined to defend them were in effect reactionaries defying modern research in general.

Their successors today rarely claim to oppose modern research in general. Anti-evolutionists, biblical literalists with their revived hostility to critical scholarship, and science-based atheists all claim to make full use of it. Nevertheless there is an overwhelming majority view – of biologists, theologians and philosophers respectively – that these movements are swimming against the tide. As in the 1890s, liberal theology fits within modern understandings of reality while dogmatic theology does not. Where we differ from their day is that the presumption against religious belief is declining rather than increasing.

Dogmatism and the Church

Brocklehurst’s desire ‘to bring back some of those who had left [the Church] through the feeling that the Church was out of touch with the spirit of the age’ is a point which we today would divide into two. In his day it was easier to imagine that everyone was either an unbeliever or a churchgoer. Today, most believers have abandoned church attendance. Many Modern Church members are among them. Often they date the lapse from the arrival of the new vicar, who expects them to believe what they cannot, and in their view discredits the faith. At the end of the nineteenth century there were many such clergy, but the laity by and large continued to attend. Perhaps attendance was made easier by the fact that the vicar’s sermon would usually have been better prepared, and his views would have been the topic of public discussion in the parish. Today the dissatisfied often find that after they have been told what to believe there is no opportunity to explore their disbelief. Although there is no Modern Church policy on the matter, I suspect most of our members would feel that prior to the laity’s duty to attend church services comes the clergy’s duty to make the services worth attending.

Diversity of belief and church unity

Rosedale’s interest in church unity draws attention to the question of uniformity: does unity require agreement of belief? In the 1890s dogmatists, catholic and protestant alike, reacted to atheism by increasing their demands: you must believe this and this if you are to be one of us. Today in the same way ‘conservative’ religion reacts against new moral attitudes – like equality for women and gay people – by reasserting the values – like male headship and the immorality of homosexuality – which they count as essential to Christianity. In both cases dogma-based unity can be supported in the short term by emphasising the points of agreement and downgrading disagreements, but this policy can never last long. The key question is whether or not a church should oblige its members to believe the same thing, or whether it should accept diversity of belief. Recently Modern Church has argued, in a number of publications, that the only way to avoid sectarian splits in the long term is to allow diversity of opinion – and if necessary oppose attempts to suppress it. Recently our arguments have focused on the case against the proposed Anglican Covenant[16] while Rosedale’s concern was church unity, but the key position is very much the same. The Church Gazette’s proposal ‘that nothing of truth should be given up, and that, in order to do this, it was necessary to spare no pains to discovery of truth’ expresses it well. It is of course the very opposite of the dogmatic claim that all such pains should be abandoned in the interests of inherited doctrines.

Other issues

Regarding the Church Gazette’s other brief points, there are two – ordination oaths and ecclesiastical discipline – in which legislation has changed the situation. Nevertheless both issues remain matters of concern. The remarks on the Bible, objective truth, progressive inspiration and spirituality express liberal positions of today so well that they need no amendment.


Conclusion

It seems to me, therefore, that Modern Church has stood the test of time remarkably well. It is not nearly so much in the public eye as it was in the early decades of the twentieth century, when our annual conferences would attract detailed reports in the national newspapers, but it is remarkable to observe how well the arguments they presented then stand up today. What they aimed to do then is what we are aiming to do now. I doubt whether the same can be said for any other religious organisation of this age.

We might also agree with the Church Gazette’s comments on the first annual meeting of what was then The Churchmen’s Union for the Advancement of Liberal Religious Thought, held on 6th October 1899, as it surveyed the achievements of its first year in existence:

Hitherto it is merely the extremists on all hands who have had any voice or expression in the appeals made by a variety of societies to the nation at large. These have fretted and fumed and strutted so noisily on the stage that they have nearly induced the great bulk of Englishmen to believe that they represent between them the mind of the Church of England. And if that were literally the case, Englishmen would not be far wrong in concluding that their church was in a very bad way.[17]

Notes:

[1] Church Gazette 8 Oct 1898.
[2] Church Gazette 18 June 1898.
[3] Church Gazette 25 June 1898.
[4] Church Gazette 5 Nov 1898.
[5] Church Gazette 6 Aug 1898.
[6] Church Gazette 6 Aug 1898.
[7] Church Gazette 18 June 1898.
[8] Church Gazette 8 Oct 1898.
[9] Church Gazette 6 Aug 1898.
[10] Church Gazette 6 Aug 1898.
[11] Church Gazette 6 Aug 1898.
[12] Church Gazette 6 Aug 1898.
[13] Church Gazette 6 Aug 1898.
[14] Church Gazette 6 Aug 1898.
[15] Church Gazette 8 Oct 1898.
[16] http://www.modernchurch.org.uk/index.php/anglican-covenant
[17] Church Gazette 14 Oct 1899.

 

Books reviewed October 2014

In Modern Believing October 2014 • previous edition • next edition

Theological Perspectives on a Surveillance Society: Watching and Being Watched

E. Stoddart

Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2011. Pp. viii, 198. Hb. £50

ISBN 978-0754667971

Reviewed by Esther Reed, University of Exeter


Theology in the Public Sphere

S. C. H. Kim

London: SCM Press, 2011 Pp. xii, 260. Pb. £40

ISBN 978-0334043775

Reviewed by Richard Impey, Lancaster


Behaving in Public: How to Do Christian Ethics

N. J. Biggar

Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2011. Pp. xviii, 124. Pb. £10.99

ISBN 978-0802864000

Reviewed by Graeme Smith, University of Chichester


An Introduction to Christian Ethics: Goals, Duties, and Virtues

R. W. Lovin

Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2011. Pp. x, 262. Pb. £19.99

ISBN 978-0687467365

Reviewed by Gifford Grobien, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN


Robust Liberalism: H. Richard Niebuhr and the Ethics of American Public Life

T. A. Beach-Verhey

Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2011. Pp. xii, 238. Hb. £41.99

ISBN 978-1602582521

Reviewed by Adam Hollowell, Duke University, Durham, NC


The Theological and the Political: On the Weight of the World

M. L. Taylor

Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2011. Pp. xviii, 236. Hb. £19.99

ISBN 978-0800697891

Reviewed by John Reader, Ironstone Benefice and William Temple Foundation


Virtually Christian: How Christ Changes Human Meaning and Makes Creation New

A. W. Bartlett

Winchester and Washington: O-Books, 2011. Pp. xii, 277. Pb. £14.99

ISBN 978-1846943966

Reviewed by Simon J. Taylor, Derby Cathedral


Mashup Religion: Pop Music and Theological Invention

J. S. McClure

Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2011. Pp. xvi, 240. Pb. £20.99

ISBN 978-160258357-3

Reviewed by Steve Knowles, University of Chester


Preaching Death: The Transformation of Christian Funeral Sermons

L. Bregman

Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2011. Pp. viii, 255. Pb. £20.99

ISBN 978-160258320-7

Reviewed by Brenda Mathijssen, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands


‘All Shall Be Well’: Explorations in Universalism and Christian Theology from Origen to Moltmann

G. MacDonald, ed.

Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2011. Pp. xii, 447. Pb. £27.50.

ISBN 978-0227680285

The Evangelical Universalist: The Biblical Hope that God’s Love Will Save Us All

G. MacDonald

2nd edn.London: SPCK, 2012. Pp. xxiv, 271. Pb. £14.99

ISBN 978-0-281-06875-3

Reviewed by Michael Brierley, Worcester Cathedral


Relics and Miracles: Two Theological Essays

S. N. Bulgakov, tr. B. Jakim

Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2011. Pp. xii, 116. Pb. £16.99

ISBN 978-0802865311

Reviewed by Gregory Platten, Friern Barnet, London


Practicing Witness: A Missional Vision of Christian Practices

B. T. Conner

Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2011. Pp. vi, 129. Pb. £10.99

ISBN 978-0802866110

Bearing True Witness: Truthfulness in Christian Practice

C. Hovey

Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2011. Pp. x, 258. Pb. £17.99

ISBN 978-0802865816

Reviewed by Edmund Newey, Christ Church, Oxford


A Theological Diagnosis: A New Direction on Genetic Therapy, ‘Disability’ and the Ethics of Healing

M. Edmonds

London and Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2011. Pp. 208. Pb. £25

ISBN 978-1843109983

Reviewed by John Gillibrand, Llangeler, Carmarthenshire


The Church’s Healing Ministry: Practical and Pastoral Reflections

D. J. Atkinson

London: Canterbury Press Norwich, 2011. Pp. x, 99. Pb. £14.99

ISBN 978-1848250772

Reviewed by John Atkinson, Swansea


Gift or a Given? A Theology of Healing for the Twenty-First Century

J. P. Atkinson

Winchester and Washington: Circle Books, 2012. Pp. x, 110. Pb. £9.99

ISBN 978-1-78099-426-0

Reviewed by David Atkinson, South Croydon


Just Forgiveness: Exploring the Bible, Weighing the Issues

A. Bash

London: SPCK, 2011. Pp. viii, 162. Pb. £10.99

ISBN 978-0281063994

Reviewed by Liz Gulliford, University of Birmingham


Placing Nature on the Borders of Religion, Philosophy and Ethics

F. J. Clingerman and M. H. Dixon, eds.

Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate

Publishing, 2011. Pp. xiv, 224. Hb. £50

ISBN 978-1409420446

Reviewed by John Inge, Diocese of Worcester


Rethinking Faith: A Constructive Practical Theology

J. N. Poling

Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2011. Pp. vi, 193. Pb. £16.99

ISBN 978-0800697549

Reviewed by Peter Babington, Bournville, Birmingham


The Faith of Girls: Children’s Spirituality and Transition to Adulthood

A. Phillips

Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2011. Pp. xiv, 203. Hb. £45

ISBN 978-1409421986

Reviewed by Marian Carter, Chelmondiston, Ipswich


Why Women Believe in God

L. Hodgkinson

Winchester and Washington: Circle Books, 2012. Pp. vi, 156. Pb. £11.99

ISBN 978-1-78099-221-1

Getting Here from There: Conversations on Life and Work

M. R. Miles and H. Sakomura

Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2011. Pp. xiv, 128. Pb. $18

Reviewed by Dawn Llewellyn, University of Chester


Introducing the Qur’an: For Today’s Reader

J. Kaltner

Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2011. Pp. xiv, 251. Pb. £16.99

ISBN 978-0800696665

Reviewed by Tim Winter, University of Cambridge


Issues in Contemporary Christian Thought: A Fortress Introduction

D. Olson

Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2011. Pp. xiv, 296. Pb. £16.99

ISBN 978-0800696658

Reviewed by Adrian Thatcher, University of Exeter


God of the Living: A Biblical Theology

R. Feldmeier and H. Spieckermann,,tr. M. E. Biddle

Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2011. Pp. x, 612. Hb. £49.99

ISBN 978-160258394-8

Reviewed by Richard S. Briggs, Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham


People of the Book? The Authority of the Bible in Christianity

J. Barton

3rd edn., London: SPCK, 2011. Pp. xxiv, 120. Pb. £9.99

ISBN 978-0281063789.

The New Testament for Everyone

N. T. Wright, tr.

London: SPCK, 2011. Pp. xx, 570. Hb. £14.99

Reviewed by Helen-Ann Hartley, Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki, Aotearoa New Zealand


Parallel Lives of Jesus: Four Gospels – One Story

E. Adams

London: SPCK, 2011. Pp. xii, 195. Pb. £14.99

ISBN 978-0281063772

Listen to the Gospels

R. A. Ferguson

Durham: Memoir Club, 2011. Pp.xx, 138. Pb. £12.50

ISBN 978-1841045344

Reviewed by Mary Marshall, University of Oxford


Abuse, Power and Fearful Obedience: Reconsidering 1 Peter’s Commands to Wives

J. G. Bird

London and New York: T. and T. Clark International, 2011. Pp. xii, 166. Hb. £65

ISBN 978-0567213495

Reviewed by Travis B. Williams, Tusculum College, Greeneville, TN


Revelation and the Politics of Apocalyptic Interpretation

R. B. Hays and S. Alkier, eds.

Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2012. Pp. vi, 233. Hb. £41.99

ISBN 978-160258561-4

What Does Revelation Reveal? Unlocking the Mystery

W. Carter

Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2011. Pp. vi, 137. Pb. £8.99

ISBN 978-1426710148.

Reviewed by Ian Boxall, Catholic University of America, Washington DC


Is Christianity Good for You?

D. Fontana

Winchester and Washington: O-Books, 2011. Pp. vi, 245. Pb. £12.99

ISBN 978-1846944413

Reviewed by Jonathan Clatworthy, Liverpool


Short Reviews


Making Sense of the Bible

H.-A. M. Hartley

London: SPCK, 2011. Pp.viii, 88. Pb. £7.20

ISBN 978-0281064052

Reviewed by Christopher Rowland, Cambridge


Temple Mysticism: An Introduction

M. Barker

London: SPCK, 2011. Pp. x, 181. Pb. £12.99

ISBN 978-0-281-06483-0

Reviewed by John Goldsmith, Derby


The Church in the Time of Empire: Resistance and Resources

D. O. Woodyard

Winchester and Washington: Circle Books, 2011. Pp. viii, 159. Pb. £9.99

ISBN 978-1846945953

Reviewed by Ian Markham, Virginia Theological Seminary


Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: A Selective Summary of His Life

J. Cowburn

Preston, Australia: Mosaic Press, 2013. Pp. viii, 130. Pb. £14.99

ISBN 978-1-74324-085-4

Reviewed by Ursula King, University of Bristol


Naturalism, Theism and the Cognitive Study of Religion:Religion Explained

A. Visala

Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2011. Pp. x, 218. Hb. £50

ISBN 978-1409424260

The Cognitive Science of Religion

J. A. Van Slyke

Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2011. Pp. x, 178. Hb. £45

ISBN 978-1409421238

Science and Faith within Reason: Reality, Creation, Life and Design

Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2011. Pp. xiv, 231. Hb. £50

ISBN 978-1409426080

Reviewed by Michael Fuller, Theological Institute of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Edinburgh


Fear and Trust: God-Centred Leadership

D. C. Runcorn

London: SPCK, 2011. Pp. x, 114. Pb. £9.99

ISBN 978-0-281-06389-5

Reviewed by Vanessa Herrick, Wimborne Minster


Books received October 2014

Publishers know that Modern Believing's team of book reviewers, led by the Reviews Editor, Rev. Dr. Michael Brierley, do an outstanding job in providing constructive, critical, fair and discerning reviews.

A. Alker, ed., Being Honest to God.  Sheffield: St Marks CRC Press, 2014.  Pp. 80.  Pb.  ISBN 978-1905278667.


L. Biernacki and P. D. Clayton, eds., Panentheism Across the World’s Traditions.  New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 2014.  Pp. xii, 218.  Hb.  ISBN 978-0-19-998989-8.


B. W. Breed, Nomadic Text: A Theory of Biblical Reception History.  Bloomington, IN: IndianaUniversity Press, 2014.  Pp. xiv, 299.  Hb.  £39.  ISBN 978-0-253-01252-4.


S. M. Cherry and H. R. Ebaugh, eds., Global Religious Movements Across Borders: Sacred Service.  Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2014.  Pp. xvi, 220.  Pb.  £19.99.  ISBN 978-1-4094-5688-9.


P. S. Chung, Church and Ethical Responsibility in the Midst of World Economy: Greed, Dominion, and Justice.  Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2014.  Pp. xxvi, 294.  Pb.  £25.  ISBN 978-0-227-67999-9.


B. R. Clack, Love, Drugs, Art, Religion: The Pains and Consolations of Existence.  Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2014.  Pp. xiv, 191.  Pb.  £19.99.  ISBN 978-1-4094-0676-1.


S. D. Cox, American Christianity: The Continuing Revolution.  Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2014.  Pp. xii, 258.  Hb.  £16.99.  ISBN 978-0-292-72910-0.


D. J. Davies and N. A. Warne, eds., Emotions and Religious Dynamics.  Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2013.  Pp. xii, 220.  Hb.  £60.  ISBN 978-1-4724-1502-8.


K. D. Eilers and K. C. Strobel, eds., Sanctified by Grace: A Theology of the Christian Life.  London and New York: Bloomsbury T. and T. Clark, 2014.  Pp. xiv, 264.  Pb.  £22.99.  ISBN 978-0-567-38343-3.


C. M. Fletcher, The Artist and the Trinity: Dorothy L. Sayers’ Theology of Work.  Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2014.  Pp. xx, 141.  Pb.  £17.50.  ISBN 978-0-7188-9334-7.


R. R. Ganzevoort, M. A. C. de Haardt and M. Scherer-Rath, eds., Religious Stories We Live By: Narrative Approaches in Theology and Religious Studies.  Leiden: Brill, 2014.  Pp. xii, 296.  Hb.  €110.  ISBN 978-90-04-26405-2.


J. B. Hill, Prophetic Rage: A Postcolonial Theology of Liberation.  Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2013.  Pp. x, 179.  Pb.  £16.99.  ISBN 978-0-8028-6977-7.


M. D. Hocknull, Pannenberg on Evil, Love and God: The Realisation of Divine Love.  Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2014.  Pp. viii, 201.  Hb.  £60.  ISBN 978-1-4094-6338-2.


M. Johnson, Seditious Theology: Punk and the Ministry of Jesus.  Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2014.  Pp. xiv, 231.  Hb.  £60.  ISBN 978-1-4094-6701-4.


M. Kinnamon, Can a Renewal Movement Be Renewed?  Questions for the Future of Ecumenism.  Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2014.  Pp. viii, 167.  Pb.  £16.99.  ISBN 978-0-8028-7075-9.


R. Lundin, Beginning with the Word: Modern Literature and the Question of Belief.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014.  Pp. x, 260.  Pb.  $24.99.  ISBN 978-0-8010-2726-0.


A. J. Moore, ed., God, Mind and Knowledge.  Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2014.  Pp. xii, 190.  Pb.  £19.99.  ISBN 978-1-4094-6210-1.


H. Oppenheimer, Christian Faith for Handing On.  Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2013.  Pp. x, 161.  Pb.  ISBN 978-1-62564-234-9.


D. Pitman, Twentieth Century Christian Responses to Religious Pluralism: Difference is Everything.  Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2014.  Pp. x, 235.  Hb.  £60.  ISBN 978-1-4724-1090-0.


S. J. Plant, Taking Stock of Bonhoeffer: Studies in Biblical Interpretation and Ethics.  Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2014.  Pp. xvi, 166.  Pb.  £19.99.  ISBN 978-1-4094-4106-9.


S. Prickett, The Edinburgh Companion to the Bible and the Arts.  Edinburgh: EdinburghUniversity Press, 2014.  Pp. xxxii, 576.  Hb.  ISBN 978-0-7486-3933-5.


R. J. Snell and S. D. Cone, Authentic Cosmopolitanism: Love, Sin, and Grace in the Christian University.  Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2014.  Pp. xii, 190.  Pb.  £17.50.  ISBN 978-0-227-17416-6.


C. Swift, Hospital Chaplaincy in the Twenty-First Century: The Crisis of Spiritual Care on the NHS, 2nd edn.  Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2014.  Pp. xx, 201.  Pb.  £17.99.  ISBN 978-1-4724-1051-1.


J.-C. G. Usunier and J. Stolz, eds., Religions as Brands: New Perspectives on the Marketization of Religion and Spirituality.  Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2014.  Pp. xx, 256.  Hb.  £65.  ISBN 978-1-4094-6755-7.


N. Vahanian, The Rebellious No: Variations on a Secular Theology of Language.  New York: FordhamUniversity Press, 2014.  Pp. xiv, 150.  Hb.  £28.99.  ISBN 978-0-8232-5695-2.


M. M. Yadlapati, Against Dogmatism: Dwelling in Faith and Doubt.  Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2013.  Pp. x, 204.  Pb.  £12.99.  ISBN 978-0-252-07945-0.


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Modern Believing editorial July 2014

Guest editorial by Anthony Freeman
from Modern Believing Vol 55:3

Engaging with God is not an optional extra. Like Jacob of old, we must wrestle before we are blessed, and do so with all our mind and all our strength. Guidance and encouragement in this task is offered by Keith Ward in the opening article of this issue of Modern Believing, as he takes us to the heart of the Christian encounter with God as Trinity.

Ward’s approach is flagged up in his opening sentence, where he points out that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity would not exist but for the claim that Jesus is in some unique sense to be identified with the divine. This starting point provides grounds for establishing the limits to what Christian pronouncements on the subject can properly say. Ward stands in the Enlightenment tradition of philosophy, which draws a distinction between things as they appear to us, and things as they are in themselves. If our human senses can be confused over simple matters such as the innate size and colour of billiard balls or the moon in the night sky, how much more should we hesitate to claim knowledge of the full nature of God? The appearance of God revealed in Jesus as Father, Son and Spirit is not false—it is not an illusion—but neither is it the whole truth of Godself. Consequently, Christians can properly claim that God as revealed in Jesus is Trinitarian, but they cannot properly claim there is no other way of knowing God. For Ward, a liberal account of the Trinity that acknowledges these limits has positive implications for relations with other faiths.

Keith Ward limits what Christians can know of the Trinity to what has been revealed in God’s encounter with the world in creation and redemption, the ‘divine economy’ as it is called. For Hugh Dawes, in the second contribution to this issue, even these attenuated claims go too far. On his understanding, ‘that which we name as God’ does not refer to anything external, but is a pointer to essential elements contained within the richness of human experience. Any objective or ‘real’ understanding of God harbours a potential for idolatry that can only be countered by poetic and non-real ways of speaking.

For many who adopt the labels ‘liberal’ or ‘modern’ to describe their theological position, including readers of this journal, Dawes’ ‘radical’ or ‘postmodern’ Christianity crosses an unacceptable line in the direction of atheistic humanism. Cue the third essay below, in which Hugh Rock argues that Dawes’ mentor and former colleague Don Cupitt should still be counted in the liberal camp. Cupitt’s 1980 book Taking Leave of God, which launched his campaign for theological ‘non-realism’, is generally assumed to have removed its author from the umbrella of theological liberalism. Rock questions this assumption and proposes that Cupitt’s professed ‘taking leave of God’ is less radical than it appears. Only the Protestant punishing God is taken leave of, while the mystical God of panentheism (which Rock claims—controversially—underpins mainstream liberal theology today) is retained by Cupitt. As for God who is made known in human relationships, so important to liberals like John Robinson, this God the strongly individualistic Cupitt has, in Rock’s estimation, never even been acquainted with, let alone taken leave of. Rock’s is a bold thesis that might provoke others to revisit the question of the relationship between ‘liberal’ and ‘radical’ theologies.

In the second half of this issue, the focus turns away from core theology to the practical outworking of our beliefs already explored in the previous two numbers of Modern Believing.

Anthony Woollard finds that Linda Woodhead’s research for the Westminster Faith Debates, and her subsequent analysis of the nature of ‘believing’ and ‘belonging’ today, raises important issues for the Church of England’s self-understanding and its current growth and mission strategies. He asks the ‘very basic theological question: Does churchgoing or church membership actually matter, and, if so, how and why?’ By way of an answer, he ponders an ecclesiology in which all who publicly associate with the church, at whatever level, might in future play a representative role more akin to that played in the past by members of the clergy or religious orders.

Woollard’s picture of the church is reminiscent in some ways of the late Martin Thornton’s model of the parish as an organic whole, in which never more than a minority—the biblical ‘remnant’—would ever be expected to become committed worshippers. Martyn Percy is another contributor to weigh in robustly against the idolatry of numerical growth in current Church of England policy, this time pointing out the malign effect it has in the selection of diocesan bishops. Instead of seeking and valuing leaders with prophetic and theological vision, he claims, ‘the church today is primarily a management-led organisation’. In such a system, it is hardly surprising that we lack bishops who dare affirm that the true purpose of the church is not to grow, but to glorify God by being the Body of Christ.

Stephen Parsons brings us back to one of the founding aims of this journal: understanding the mind of conservative Christians in order to be able to engage with them effectively and fruitfully from a modernist standpoint. Parsons draws on the work of cognitive linguist George Lakoff, who is able to explain why liberals so often find themselves on the defensive in situations where common sense dictates that they should be occupying the moral and logical high ground. The argument is illustrated by the debate on gay marriage, but its relevance is much wider.

Linda Woodhead focuses on the same topic as she gives an account of her run-in with officials at Church House, Westminster, over the House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriages. This may seem a curious item to include in an academic journal, and the way it earns its place is instructive on two levels. First, the content of the argument she describes illustrates the necessity for scholarly vigilance and scrutiny of all official church pronouncements, even when they are—on the face of it—pastoral rather than doctrinal or intellectual. And secondly, the tone of the arguments deployed—including the unashamed use of the term ‘liberal’ as a derogatory label—indicates that the need for sound scholarship to underpin progressive movements in the church is as great as ever. The role of Modern Believing and its predecessor publications is thus reaffirmed: to equip liberal Christians with well-argued material that cannot be summarily dismissed in the way that was (unsuccessfully) attempted in this instance.

From time to time a controversial issue puts church leaders in the media headlines. Like buses, two have recently come along at once. Journals of the quality of Modern Believing take time to produce, so any attempt to keep up to date with fast-moving debates brings dangers; but we run this risk because both same-sex marriage and food poverty—the final topic in this issue and covered all too briefly—deserve theological reflection.

Niall Cooper, Director of Church Action on Poverty, and Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro and Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Foodbanks and Food Poverty, both have leading roles in expressing the churches’ concerns about rising levels of extreme poverty in Britain today. For Christians, providing for the needs of the poor and feeding the hungry is an obligation going right back to the ministry of Jesus in Galilee. While scholars still debate the details it seems likely that Jesus understood this obligation in terms of biblical texts describing the land’s resources as God’s provision designed to meet the needs of all. In brief articles Cooper and Thornton describe the present situation and offer resources for exploring how Christians may properly respond today.


 Anthony Freeman is the author of God In Us: A Case for Christian Humanism, and assitant editor of Modern Believing.

Books reviewed July 2014

In Modern Believing July 2014 • previous edition • next edition

Woodbine Willie: An Unsung Hero of World War One

R. Holman

Oxford: Lion Hudson, 2013. Pp. 222. Pb. £9.99.

ISBN 978-0-7459-5561-2.

Reviewed by Michael Brierley, Worcester Cathedral                                                                              


Muddling Through: The Organisation of British Army Chaplaincy in World War One, Helion Studies in Military History 25.

P. J. Howson

Solihull: Helion and Co., 2013. Pp. 237. Hb.

ISBN 978-1-909384-20-0.

Reviewed by Michael Brierley, Worcester Cathedral  


Faith under Fire: Anglican Army Chaplains and the Great War

E. Madigan

Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Pp. xii, 296. Hb. £60.

ISBN 978-0-230-23745-2.

Reviewed by Michael Brierley, Worcester Cathedral  


The Clergy in Khaki: New Perspectives on British Army Chaplaincy in the First World War

M. F. Snape and E. Madigan, eds.

Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2013. Pp. xvi, 222. Hb. £65.

ISBN 978-1-4094-3000-1.

Reviewed by Michael Brierley, Worcester Cathedral  


 

The Church of England and the First World War, 3rd edn.

A. B. Wilkinson

Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2014. Pp. xiv, 370. Pb. £22.50.

ISBN 978-0-7188-9321-7.

 

Reviewed by Michael Brierley, Worcester Cathedral 


 

The Fantasy of Reunion: Anglicans, Catholics, and Ecumenism, 1833-1882

M. D. Chapman

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Pp. x, 329. Hb. £55.

ISBN 979-0-19-968806-07.

Reviewed by Martyn Percy, Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford.                                                         


The Catholic Church and World Religions: A Theological and Phenomenological Account.

G. D’Costa, ed.

London and New York: T. and T. Clark International, 2011. Pp. x, 220. Pb.

ISBN 978-0567466976.

Reviewed by Paul Hedges, University of Winchester                                                                      


Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept

B. Nongbri

New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 2013. Pp. x, 275. Hb.

ISBN 978-0-300-15416-0.

Jonathan Clatworthy, Liverpool                                                                                   


Quakering Theology: Essays on Worship, Tradition and Christian Faith

D. L. Johns

Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2013. Pp. xvi, 165. Hb. £50.

ISBN 978-1-4094-5616-2.

Reviewed by Rachel Muers, University of Leeds                                                                                     


Transforming Masculinities in African Christianity: Gender Controversies in Times of AIDS

A. S. van Klinken

Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2013. Pp. x, 224. Hb. £55.

ISBN 978-1-4094-5114-3.

Reviewed by Adrian Thatcher, University of Exeter                                                                               


The Tradition of Liberal Theology

M. J. Langford

Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2014. Pp. viii, 166. Pb. £11.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-6981-4.

Reviewed by John Saxbee, Haverfordwest                                                                                              


Postliberal Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed

R. T. Michener

London and New York: Bloomsbury T. and T. Clark, 2013. Pp. viii, 186. Pb. £14.99.

ISBN 978-0-567-03005-4.

Reviewed by Mike Higton, Durham University                                                                                      


Seeing in the Dark: Pastoral Perspectives on Suffering from the Christian Spiritual Tradition

C. Chapman

London: Canterbury Press, 2013. Pp. xviii, 182. Pb.

ISBN 978-1-84825-259-2.

Reviewed by Peter Longson, London