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Modern Believing editorial October 2015

Editorial by Jonathan Clatworthy
from Modern Believing Vol 56:4 - October 2015

What are we trying to achieve?

It is now fifty years since the Second Vatican Council completed its work, so we thought some reflection on it would be in order.

Massimo Faggioli notes disappointments: the lack of progress on ecumenism and lay involvement, the dominant role of the papacy. Nevertheless theologically, spiritually and institutionally there has been progress. The Church is not what it was and cannot go back, despite some moves in that direction. Faggioli argues that we need more than fifty years to judge it.

Thomas Hughson observes that, whereas previous councils had been convened to resolve doctrinal issues, Vatican II was pastoral. Nevertheless much theology resulted. Augustinian and Thomist tendencies were expressed in rival agendas like opposition to abortion and promotion of human rights, though he warns against too sharp a distinction. Pope Francis, the first pope since Vatican II not to have attended it, nevertheless expresses it well, not least for symbolising the worldwide dimension by being the first pope from Latin America. Citing his ‘steps away from clerical, papal privileges in dress, residence, and vehicle’, Hughson notes that ‘the whole council’s pastoral rather than dogmatic nature and purpose anchors his supremely pastoral style’.

Christopher Hill describes how Vatican II has influenced Anglican liturgy. It was always closely related to Roman Catholic liturgy, and the Church of England’s new services were influenced by the Council’s reforms. God was addressed as ‘you’ rather than ‘thee’ from Series 3 onwards. The westward-facing position of the priest at the Eucharist became standard. The liturgy was simplified. There was a renewed emphasis on the liturgy being an act of the whole people.

Our final article takes this journal’s ecumenical concern in a different direction. Alan Sell provides a review of Ward and Thompson’s collection of essays Tradition and the Baptist Academy. The contributors explore the nature of Baptist tradition, history and theology, and Sell summarises their accounts of Baptist worship, preaching, sacraments, ecclesiology and polity.

***

At the end of last year the Church of England, under the leadership of Martyn Percy, the Church Times and our President Linda Woodhead, threw up its arms in horror at the newly published Green Report. Over the next few weeks a string of additional reports added fuel to the fire.

The comparison that comes to my mind is not with Vatican II – there will be no learned articles on these reports in fifty years’ time – but with the British Labour Party as it licks its wounds after losing the General Election. In both cases the agenda is driven by anxiety about decline. Those responsible for running the institution want to carry on doing the same things, but somehow more effectively – a bit like the Father Ted television programmes where the response to every crisis is to celebrate the Mass. So the Church is to spend extra capital resources on parish clergy and leadership.

Especially for its time, Vatican II was an act of bravery. Church leaders could see that society was changing the way it related to the Church, and the Church needed to change accordingly. Is a similar act of bravery now required, perhaps on a bigger scale, by the western churches in general?

Until the seventeenth century, as far as we know, every society in the world integrated its beliefs about gods into its overall understanding of reality. Speculation about natural processes informed, and was informed by, speculation about divine beings. Science, metaphysics and morality combined to explain how the world was made, why humans are the way we are and how we should live. Shamans, priests, seers, doctors, sorcerers and witches had different roles in different societies, but our modern separation of ‘religion’ into a distinct category of its own does not appear to have developed elsewhere.

This changed with the devastating experience of the European religious wars. Church authority and beliefs about God were increasingly excluded from government, law, science and eventually even ethics. Nineteenth century atheists, aiming to provide a complete account of reality without reference to any divine beings, adapted the word ‘religion’ to refer to a category of concepts for which they had no further use: God, prayer and life after death. Reality was made of matter, so religion had nothing to tell us about it.

Most of the mainstream churches responded by emphasising spiritual realities beyond the reach of natural scientists. It was a popular move at the time, especially since nineteenth century materialism left human life with no meaning, value or purpose, eerily empty. However, one implication was that the uncommitted might as well ignore all religion, since it was only an optional extra for individuals with private beliefs.

This is why twentieth century evangelism was predominantly a matter of catching individuals. Churches could grow by seizing the moment when someone found it difficult to cope with the religion-free paradigm, and grabbing another convert. The emphasis on individual conversion left the default atheism of secular society untouched. Churches which became successful in this way often took pride in being non-political. However, individuals so converted were bound to ask themselves what difference being a Christian really made. The hole has usually been plugged with single-issue campaigns: against abortion, evolution, gay marriage, whatever. The message becomes a simple one: to be one of us, you define yourself as a Christian and therefore oppose what we oppose.

Twenty years ago churches of this type were riding high. Now they are not. Single issue campaigns usually have a limited shelf life; opposing gay marriage clearly offends more people than it attracts, especially among the young. Perhaps another issue will soon replace it, but something else seems to be happening. Until around forty years ago the main British alternative to Christianity was atheism. Since then countless alternative and New Age groups have sprung up, most with minimal resources, and have grown while mainstream churches struggled. Meanwhile moral leadership, once provided by churches, is now provided by organisations like 38 Degrees with its concern for the environment, the poor, the ill, injustice and animals. These issues resonate with many people’s sense of spiritual connection with the world and its living processes.

Judging from the studies of religious beliefs, atheism has been found wanting; but those already disengaged from Christianity are reluctant to commit themselves to an institution providing too many doctrines. More people believe in something, but want to judge for themselves what proves helpful. One can hardly blame them.

This means that many people are looking for a spirituality more akin, in important ways, to what Christianity offered before the crises of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: a wider range of practices and ideas, more integrated into their ordinary lives, more engaged with society’s general understanding of reality.

It is also more akin to the tradition in which Modern Church was founded, just over a century ago, to defend: a faith unafraid to take a close look at new ideas, whatever their provenance, and judge them on their merits, unafraid to admit, when the evidence demanded it, that past church teaching was wrong.

If this is what is happening, the churches can afford to spend less time distinguishing themselves from their wider society, and instead respond more positively to the various spiritual needs people think they have. Part of this response will be to stop judging success by the numbers of people who turn up to church services. Perhaps we should not be judging our success at all. Perhaps, instead of assessing how well we are doing, we should spend more time celebrating what God is doing for us.

***

This issue completes my term as Editor of Modern Believing. It has felt sometimes like a privilege, sometimes like a challenge, sometimes both. After a century of publication with a succession of illustrious editors, can I really maintain the standard readers expect? Will I be the editor under whom it collapses? Can I really keep on top of the rapidly changing publishing world? Anthony Freeman came to the rescue, brought me up to date and made sure everything was done decently and in order. The issues of the last few years have been greatly improved by his patient work.

We also faced the issue of publishing arrangements. At the time of the handover from Adrian Thatcher we had spent many years looking for a suitable academic publisher and were still looking. Soon afterwards Liverpool University Press came up trumps. Although we feel confident that we made the right decision, the changeover has involved a great deal of work, especially regarding the system for subscriptions. Fortunately we had able officers, especially Christine Alker and Guy Elsmore who worked hard to smoothe out the wrinkles. I am therefore especially grateful to Anthony, Guy and Christine for pulling out the stops at an exacting time.

In addition a successful journal needs a team of collaborators plodding away behind the scenes, generally unnoticed. Among these are Michael Brierley the Reviews Editor, Clare Hooper and the staff of Liverpool University Press, the Editorial Advisers and of course the authors of the articles and reviews. I offer my thanks to them too. It has been a pleasure to work with them.

Finally we are grateful to Steven Shakespeare for offering to edit the journal henceforth. A publication like this is best edited by someone in an academic post and in constant touch with the latest ideas and thinkers. With Steven as Editor I am confident that it will go from strength to strength.


Books reviewed October 2015

in Modern Believing October 2015 • previous edition • next edition

Theology in a Social Context: Sociological Theology, vol. 1
R. M. Gill
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2012. Pp. vi, 240. Pb. £19.99
Theology Shaped by Society: Sociological Theology, vol. 2
R. M. Gill
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2012. Pp. vi, 219. Pb. £19.99. ISBN 978-1-4094-2597-7
Society Shaped by Theology: Sociological Theology, vol. 3
R. M. Gill
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2013. Pp. viii, 252. Pb. £19.99. ISBN 978-1-4094-2600-4

Reviewed by Martyn Percy, University of Oxford


Gender, Nation and Religion in European Pilgrimage
W. Jansen and C. Notermans, eds.
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2012. Pp. xiv, 232. Hb. £55. ISBN 978-1-4094-4964-5

Reviewed by Marion Bowman, Open University, Milton Keynes


Intensities: Philosophy, Religion and the Affirmation of Life
K. S. Moody and S. Shakespeare, eds.
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2012. Pp. xii, 185. Pb. £19.95. ISBN 978-1-4094-4329-2

Reviewed by Beverley Clack, Oxford Brookes University


Faithful Doubt: The Wisdom of Uncertainty
G. J. D. Collins
Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014. Pp. xviii, 207. Pb. ISBN 978-1-62564-369-8

Reviewed by John Saxbee, Haverfordwest


Theology of Transformation: Faith, Freedom, and the Christian Act
A. O. Davies
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Pp. x, 274. Hb. ISBN 978-0-19-968595-0

Reviewed by Anthony Freeman, Chichester


A Celtic Christology: The Incarnation according to John Scottus Eriugena
J. F. Gavin
Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2014. Pp. xviii, 160. Pb. £19.50. ISBN 978-0-227-17478-4

Reviewed by Deirdre Carabine, Virtual University of Uganda


Hell’s Destruction: An Exploration of Christ’s Descent to the Dead
C. E. Laufer
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2013. Pp. x, 230. Hb. £55. ISBN 978-1-4094-5194-5

Reviewed by Robin Parry, Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene, OR


The Place of the Spirit: Toward a Trinitarian Theology of Location
S. Morice-Brubaker
Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2014. Pp. xvi, 148. Pb. £17.50. ISBN 978-0-227-17437-1

Reviewed by John Inge, Diocese of Worcester


Seeing Beyond Death: Images of the Afterlife in Theology and Film
C. Deacy and U. Vollmer, eds.
Marburg: Schüren Verlag, 2012. Pp. 208. Pb. €19.90.

Reviewed by Robert Ellis, Regent’s Park College, Oxford


Because of Beauvoir: Christianity and the Cultivation of Female Genius
A. E. Jasper
Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2012. Pp. x, 178. Hb. £33.50. ISBN 978-160258321-4

Reviewed by Alison Milbank, University of Nottingham


Anglican Women on Church and Mission
P. L. Kwok, J. A. Berling and J. P. Te Paa, eds.
London: Canterbury Press Norwich, 2013. Pp. xx, 209. Pb. ISBN 978-1-84825-193-9

Reviewed by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, Belmont, Durham


Anglican Theology
M. D. Chapman
London and New York: T. and T. Clark International, 2012. Pp. viii, 269. Pb. £14.99

Reviewed by Alec Ryrie, Durham University


Charles Gore: Radical Anglican
P. M. Waddell
London: Canterbury Press Norwich, 2014. Pp. xxxviii, 184. Pb. ISBN 978-1-84825-654-5

Reviewed by Robert B. Slocum, St Catharine College, KY


The Collected Sermons of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I. Best, ed. tr. D. W. Stott, A. Schmidt-Lange, I. Best, S. A. Moore and C. D. Bergmann
Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2012. Pp. xxvi, 214. Hb. £19.99. ISBN 978-0-8006-9904-8

Reviewed by Andrew Chandler, University of Chichester


My Journal of the Council
Y. M. J. Congar, ed. D. Minns, tr. M. J. Ronayne and M. C. Boulding
Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2012. Pp. lxii, 979. Hb. $69.95. ISBN 978-0-8146-8029-2

Reviewed by Elizabeth Groppe, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH


Wounded Visions: Unity, Justice, and Peace in the World Church after 1968
J. Jonson, tr. N. A. Hjelm
Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2013. Pp. x, 192. Pb. £16.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-6778-0
Sustaining the Hope for Unity: Ecumenical Dialogue in a Postmodern World
E. M. Brigham
Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2012. Pp. vi, 168. Pb. $29.95

Reviewed by Sangwoo Kim, Duke University, Durham, NC


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

Reviewed by Richard Clutterbuck, Edgehill Theological College, Belfast


Jesus and the Religions: Retrieving a Neglected Example for a Multicultural World
B. Robinson
Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2012. Pp. x, 292. Pb. $43
Christians and Jews Building Bridges
M. C. R. Braybrooke
Abingdon: Braybrooke Press, 2013. Pp. 170. Pb. £12.50. ISBN 978-1-291-37948-8.

Reviewed by Alan Race, Lee, London


God, Jews and the Media: Religion and Israel’s Media
Y. Cohen
Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2012. Pp. xiv, 258. Hb. £75. ISBN 978-0-415-47503-7

Reviewed by Jonathan Romain, Maidenhead Synagogue


My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation
J. H. Peace, O. N. Rose and G. Mobley, eds.
Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2012. Pp. xx, 283. Pb. £16.99. ISBN 978-1-57075-958-1

Reviewed by Paul Hedges, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore


The Tactile Heart: Studies in Blindness and Faith
J. M. Hull
London: SCM Press, 2013. Pp. viii, 152. Pb. ISBN 978-0-334-04933-3

Reviewed by Cristina Gangemi, Kairos Forum, Caterham, Surrey


Nourishing the Spirit: The Healing Emotions of Wonder, Joy, Compassion and Hope
J. D. and E. E. Whitehead
Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2012. Pp. x, 181. Pb. £14.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-001-3

Reviewed by Lorraine Cavanagh, Abergavenny


An Introduction to Christian Ethics: History, Movements, People
H. J. Huebner
Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2012. Pp. xvi, 672. Pb. £49.99. ISBN 978-160258063-3

Reviewed by Tyler Atkinson, Bethany College, Lindsborg, KS


Reimagining Discipleship: Loving the Local Community
R. L. Cotton
London: SPCK, 2012. Pp. vi, 150. Pb. ISBN 978-0-281-06719-0

Reviewed by Angus Ritchie, Centre for Theology and Community, East London


Faith and the Future of the Countryside: Pastoral and Theological Perspectives on Rural Sustainability
A. G. C. Smith and J. Hopkinson, eds.
London: Canterbury Press Norwich, 2012. Pp. xxvi, 273. Pb. ISBN 978-1-84825-117-5

Reviewed by John Drane, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA


Worship and Ministry: Shaped towards God
S. Burns
Preston, Australia: Mosaic Press, 2012. Pp. vi, 249. Pb. £24.99. ISBN 978-1-74324-141-7

Reviewed by Jo Spreadbury, Portsmouth Cathedral


The Art of Curating Worship: Reshaping the Role of Worship Leader
M. F. Pierson
London: Canterbury Press Norwich, 2012. Pp. xii, 239. Pb. ISBN 978-1-84825-194-6

Reviewed by Mark Earey, Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham


The Letters of Paul as Rituals of Worship
J. P. Heil
Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2012. Pp. viii, 208. Pb. £17.50. ISBN 978-0-227-68007-0
Studying Paul’s Letters: Contemporary Perspectives and Methods
J. A. Marchal, ed.
Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2012. Pp. xiv, 233. Pb. £21.99. ISBN 978-0-8006-9818-8

Reviewed by Michael Lakey, Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford


In the Beginning Were Stories, Not Texts: Story Theology
C. S. Song
Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2012. Pp. viii, 172. Pb. £15. ISBN 978-0-227-68023-0

Reviewed by Ruard Ganzevoort, VU University Amsterdam


Words Unspoken: An Invitation to Christian Faith
P. M. Schmiechen
Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2012. Pp. xii, 115. Pb. ISBN 978-1-62032-184-3

Reviewed by Hannah Cleugh, Durham University


Short Reviews


An Introduction to Jean-Yves Lacoste
J. Schrijvers
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2012. Pp. x, 205. Hb. £55. ISBN 978-1-4094-4158-8

Reviewed by Edmund Newey, Christ Church, Oxford


Ordinary Christology: Who Do You Say I Am? Answers from the Pews
A. Christie
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2012. Pp. x, 214. Hb. £50. ISBN 978-1-4094-2535-9.

Reviewed by Michael Brierley, Worcester Cathedral


Why Religions Work: God’s Place in the World Today
E. Stoneham
Winchester and Washington: Circle Books, 2012. Pp. x, 134. Pb. £9.99. ISBN 978-1-78099-496-3

Reviewed by Jonathan Clatworthy, Liverpool


The Moral Disciple: An Introduction to Christian Ethics
K. A. Van Til
Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2012. Pp. x, 160. Pb. £11.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-6675-2

Reviewed by Cathriona Russell, Trinity College, Dublin


Members Are Ministers: The Vocation of All Believers
P. F. Goetting
Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2012. Pp. xxiv, 237. Pb. $29.

Reviewed by Teresa Morgan, University of Oxford


Books received October 2015

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.


D. Albera and P. J. K. Eade, eds., International Perspectives on Pilgrimage Studies: Itineraries, Gaps and Obstacles. New York and Abingdon: Routledge, 2015. Pp. xii, 213. Hb. £85. ISBN 978-1-138-84035-5.


B. R. Ambros, Women in Japanese Religions. New York and London: New York University Press, 2015. Pp. x, 237. Pb. £11.99. ISBN 978-1-4798-8406-3.


A. C. Atherstone and J. G. Maiden, eds., Evangelicalism and the Church of England in the Twentieth Century: Reform, Resistance and Renewal, Studies in Modern British Religious History 31. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2014. Pp. x, 325. Hb. £60. ISBN 978-1-84383-911-8.


B. Bingaman, All Things New: The Trinitarian Nature of the Human Calling in Maximus the Confessor and Jürgen Moltmann. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xvi, 194. Pb. £17.50. ISBN 978-0-227-17515-6.


A. L. Blazer, Playing for God: Evangelical Women and the Unintended Consequences of Sports Ministry. New York and London: New York University Press, 2015. Pp. xii, 233. Pb. £18.99. ISBN 978-1-4798-1813-6.


D. Boscaljon, ed., Hope and the Longing for Utopia: Futures and Illusions in Theology and Narrative. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xx, 239. Pb. £18. ISBN 978-0-227-17505-7.


B. A. Bosserman, The Trinity and the Vindication of Christian Paradox: An Interpretation and Refinement of the Theological Apologetic of Cornelius Van Til. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xxiv, 267. Pb. £20. ISBN 978-0-227-17506-4.


S. M. Brettmann, Theories of Justice: A Dialogue with Karol Wojtyla and Karl Barth. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xviii, 223. Pb. £18.50. ISBN 978-0-227-17516-3.


B. R. Brock, Captive to Christ, Open to the World: On Doing Christian Ethics in Public, ed. K. R. Oakes. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. xvi, 143. Pb. £17.50. ISBN 978-0-7188-9377-4.


G. Buxton, An Uncertain Certainty: Snapshots in a Journey from ‘Either-Or’ to ‘Both-And’ in Christian Ministry. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. xviii, 235. Pb. £18. ISBN 978-0-7188-9395-8.


J. P. Caperon, A Vital Ministry: Chaplaincy in Schools in the Post-Christian Era. London: SCM Press, 2015. Pp. xiv, 152. Pb. ISBN 978-0-334-05219-7.


D. E. Capps, The Resourceful Self: And a Little Child Shall Lead Them. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. xiv, 203. Pb. £16.50. ISBN 978-0-7188-9390-3.


D. E. Capps, Still Growing: The Creative Self in Older Adulthood. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. xviii, 190. Pb. £16.50. ISBN 978-0-7188-9391-0.


C. C. Davis, M. J. P. Pound and C. S. Crockett, eds., Theology after Lacan: The Passion for the Real. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. viii, 286. Pb. £22.50. ISBN 978-0-227-17470-8.


A. F. Day and M. Lövheim, eds., Modernities, Memory and Mutations: Grace Davie and the Study of Religion. Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2015. Pp. xvi, 255. Hb. £65. ISBN 978-1-4724-3617-7.


C. E. Deane-Drummond, S. Bergmann and B. Szerszynski, eds., Technofutures, Nature and the Sacred: Transdisciplinary Perspectives. Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2015. Pp. xvi, 289. Hb. £65. ISBN 978-1-4724-4410-3.


K. L. Dearborn, Drinking from the Wells of New Creation: The Holy Spirit and the Imagination in Reconciliation. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. x, 159. Pb. £17.50. ISBN 978-0-227-17499-9.


A. Dillen, ed., Soft Shepherd or Almighty Pastor? Power and Pastoral Care. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xx, 200. Pb. £16.50. ISBN 978-0-227-17522-4.


A. F. Droogers, Religion at Play: A Manifesto. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. x, 175. Pb. £15. ISBN 978-0-7188-9396-5.


F. C. Dyer, Who Are We to Judge? Empathy and Discernment in a Critical Age. London: SPCK, 2015. Pp. xii, 132. Pb. £9.99. ISBN 978-0-281-07248-4.


E. Filby, God and Mrs Thatcher: The Battle for Britain’s Soul. London: Biteback Publishing, 2015. Pp. xxiv, 407. Hb. £20. ISBN 978-1849547857.


A. Francis, What in God’s Name Are You Eating? How Can Christians Live and Eat Responsibly in Today’s Global Village? Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. viii, 157. Pb. £17.50. ISBN 978-0-7188-9381-1.


G. Giordan and L. Woodhead, eds., A Sociology of Prayer. Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2015. Pp. xiv, 239. Pb. £19.99. ISBN 978-1-4094-5585-1.


D. J. Goodhew, ed., Towards a Theology of Church Growth. Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2015. Pp. xii, 248. Pb. £19.99. ISBN 978-1-4724-1400-7.


M. Grebe, Election, Atonement, and the Holy Spirit: Through and Beyond Barth’s Theological Interpretation of Scripture. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xxii, 289. Pb. £20. ISBN 978-0-227-17517-0.


L. A. Green, Blessed Are the Poor? Urban Poverty and the Church. London: SCM Press, 2015. Pp. xviii, 218. Pb. ISBN 978-0-334-05365-1.


S. E. Gregg and L. Scholefield, Engaging with Living Religion: A Guide to Fieldwork in the Study of Religion. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2015. Pp. x, 180. Pb. £29.99. ISBN 978-0-415-53448-2.


C.-H. Grenholm and G. Gunner, eds., Justification in a Post-Christian Society. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xii, 258. Pb. £18.50. ISBN 978-0-227-17523-1.


C.-H. Grenholm and G. Gunner, eds., Lutheran Identity and Political Theology. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xii, 241. Pb. £18.50. ISBN 978-0-227-17524-8.


M. L. Grundy, Multi-Congregation Ministry: Theology and Practice in a Changing Church. London: Canterbury Press Norwich, 2015. Pp. x, 165. Pb. ISBN 978-1-84825-791-7.


R. T. Hakola, Reconsidering Johannine Christianity: A Social Identity Approach. New York and Abingdon: Routledge, 2015. Pp. xii, 175. Hb. £85. ISBN 978-1-138-91023-2.


J. W. Hart, Encountering ETI: Aliens in Avatar and the Americas. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. x, 296. Pb. £21. ISBN 978-0-7188-9397-2.


R. B. Hays, Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Gospel Witness. London: SPCK, 2015. Pp. xxii, 155. Pb. £16.99. ISBN 978-0-281-07408-2.


E. Hessamfar, In the Fellowship of His Suffering: A Theological Interpretation of Mental Illness - A Focus on ‘Schizophrenia’. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. xii, 375. Pb. £25. ISBN 978-0-7188-9382-8.


M. A. Higton and J. Fodor, eds., The Routledge Companion to the Practice of Christian Theology. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2015. Pp. xii, 450. Hb. £140. ISBN 978-0-415-61736-9.


E. A. Hoare, Using the Bible in Spiritual Direction. London: SPCK, 2015. Pp. xii, 156. Pb. £14.99. ISBN 978-0-281-07220-0.


F. S. Houston, You Shall Love the Stranger as Yourself: The Bible, Refugees, and Asylum. New York and Abingdon: Routledge, 2015. Pp. xii, 201. Pb. £24.99. ISBN 978-1-138-85931-9.


P. O. Ingram, Living without a Why: Mysticism, Pluralism, and the Way of Grace. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xii, 124. Pb. £15. ISBN 978-0-227-17526-2.


R. W. Jackson, What Makes Churches Grow? Vision and Practice in Effective Mission. London: Church House Publishing, 2015. Pp. xvi, 299. Pb. ISBN 978-0-7151-4474-9.


A. J. P. Kenny, Christianity in Review: A History of the Faith in Fifty Books. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2015. Pp. viii, 295. Hb. £14.99. ISBN 978-0-232-53172-5.


P. R. Laughlin, Jesus and the Cross: Necessity, Meaning, and Atonement. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xvi, 270. Pb. £20. ISBN 978-0-227-17496-8.


N. Lefler, Theologizing Friendship: How Amicitia in the Thought of Aelred and Aquinas Inscribes the Scholastic Turn. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xvi, 178. Pb. £20. ISBN 978-0-227-17481-4.


J. C. Lyden and E. M. Mazur, eds., The Routledge Companion to Religion and Popular Culture. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2015. Pp. xviii, 583. Hb. £140. ISBN 978-0-415-63866-1.


R. S. Machuga, Three Theological Mistakes: How to Correct Enlightenment Assumptions about God, Miracles, and Free Will. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xvi, 275. Pb. £20. ISBN 978-0-227-17528-6.


J. W. Menzies, True Myth: C. S. Lewis and Joseph Campbell on the Veracity of Christianity. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. x, 258. Pb. £22.50. ISBN 978-0-7188-9376-7.


R. Moore, Women in Christian Traditions. New York and London: New York University Press, 2015. Pp. x, 209. Pb. £11.99. ISBN 978-1-4798-2175-4.


M. S. Northcott, Place, Ecology and the Sacred: The Moral Geography of Sustainable Communities. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015. Pp. viii, 233. Pb. £22.99. ISBN 978-1-4411-3406-6.


A. C. Plantinga, Knowledge and Christian Belief. Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2015. Pp. xii, 129. Pb. £17.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7204-3.


B. A. Pugh, Atonement Theories: A Way through the Maze. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xiv, 190. Pb. £20. ISBN 978-0-227-17500-2.


M. A. Rae, Christian Theology: The Basics. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2015. Pp. x, 178. Pb. £15.99. ISBN 978-0-415-81494-2.


R. D. Sawtell, Under One Roof: The Story of a Christian Community. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2015. Pp. x, 146. Pb. £8.99. ISBN 978-0-232-53173-2.


G. J. Simons and D. Westerlund, eds., Religion, Politics and Nation-Building in Post-Communist Countries. Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2015. Pp. xiv, 220. Hb. £65. ISBN 978-1-4724-4969-6.


R. B. Slocum, The Anglican Imagination: Portraits and Sketches of Modern Anglican Theologians. Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2015. Pp. xvi, 177. Hb. £60. ISBN 978-1-4724-4735-7.


K. M. Storer, Reading Scripture to Hear God: Kevin Vanhoozer and Henri de Lubac on God’s Use of Scripture in the Economy of Redemption. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xxiv, 161. Pb. £15. ISBN 978-0-227-17531-6.


A. D. Swafford, Nature and Grace: A New Approach to Thomistic Ressourcement. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xiv, 205. Pb. £20. ISBN 978-0-227-17502-6.


B. B. Taylor, Speaking of Sin: The Lost Language of Salvation. London: Canterbury Press Norwich, 2015. Pp. x, 73. Pb. ISBN 978-1-84825-797-9.


P. G. Tyson, Returning to Reality: Christian Platonism for Our Times. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. x, 218. Pb. £17.50. ISBN 978-0-7188-9385-9.


L. L. Vance, Women in New Religions. New York and London: New York University Press, 2015. Pp. x, 189. Pb. £11.99. ISBN 978-1-4798-1602-6.


W. Vander Lugt and T. A. Hart, eds., Theatrical Theology: Explorations in Performing the Faith. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. xviii, 278. Pb. £21. ISBN 978-0-7188-9384-2.


M. J. Volland, The Minister as Entrepreneur: Leading and Growing the Church in an Age of Rapid Change. London: SPCK, 2015. Pp. vi, 149. Pb. ISBN 978-0-281-07182-1.


K. J. Wardley, Praying to a French God: The Theology of Jean-Yves Lacoste. Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2014. Pp. xii, 246. Hb. £60. ISBN 978-1-4724-2865-3.


J. D. Weaver, ed., John Howard Yoder: Radical Theologian. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. xvi, 419. Pb. £27.50. ISBN 978-0-7188-9394-1.


P. J. Webster, Archbishop Ramsey: The Shape of the Church. Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2015. Pp. xii, 255. Pb. £25. ISBN 978-0-7546-6596-0.


D. R. Wright and K. J. White, eds., The Logic of the Spirit in Human Thought and Experience: Exploring the Vision of James E. Loder Jr. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. xxvi, 357. Pb. £27.50. ISBN 978-0-7188-9378-1.


N. T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus, 2nd edn. London: SPCK, 2015. Pp. xii, 163. Pb. £12.99. ISBN 978-0-281-07386-3.


A. Yong, The Dialogical Spirit: Christian Reason and Theological Method in the Third Millennium. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xvi, 336. Pb. £25. ISBN 978-0-227-17520-0.


F. K. Young, Inferior Office? A History of Deacons in the Church of England. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xxxviii, 179. Pb. £25. ISBN 978-0-227-17488-3.


Modern Believing editorial July 2015

Editorial by Anthony Freeman
from Modern Believing Vol 56:3 - July 2015

This issue consists largely of contributions to the 2014 Modern Church annual conference on the topic of Exploring Spirituality for the 21st Century.

Martyn Percy gave the chairman's keynote address on 'Generous Liberalism: A Search for our Spiritual Soul' and set the standard for what was by common consent one of the best conferences of recent years. His focus on the importance of parable in connecting with Christian faith opened a seam that was also mined by other speakers, notably Mark Oakley in his plea for a more poetic faith that would open up and invite engagement rather than explain everything and close down exploration. Emma Percy took one particular biblical 'parable' or metaphor—breastfeeding as an image of grace-filled service—and traced its historical variety and contemporary value.

Dave Bookless's discussion of 'Worldly Spirituality' challenged the polarity between the dark forces of all-consuming anthropocentricism and eco-warriors in shining armour. What we need instead is a theocentrism that acknowledges creation as being neither for humans nor for nature but for God. This requires a spirituality that takes seriously St John's declaration that God so loved the world (including but not exclusively the human world) that he sent his only Son.

Being Modern Church, the sociologists were not to be left out. Grace Davie spoke about the shift in the 'centre' of religion in Britain in the two decades since she published Religion in Britain since 1945 (Blackwell, 1994) and the continuing aptness of her phrase 'believing without belonging' to describe the many who consciously place themselves beyond religious or spiritual commitment, but who continue to believe (albeit in unorthodox ways). Copyright considerations prevent us from printing Professor Davie's talk, but we hope to publish a review of her recent work in a future issue of Modern Believing. Another sociological perspective was given by Abby Day in her fascinating account of the spirituality of the older laywomen ('Generation A') whose unassuming commitment holds together many a church community.

Finally the crucial place of silence in contemporary spirituality was highlighted in presentations on Mindfulness by John Peacocke (summarized here with observations by Tim Stead) and on the Quaker perspective by Abby Day.

You can listen to and download audio of speakers from the 2014 Modern Church Conference: 'A Liberating Spirit? Exploring Spirituality for the 21st Century' here.


Books reviewed July 2015

in Modern Believing July 2015 • previous edition • next edition

The Edge of Words: God and the Habits of Language
R. D. Williams
London: Bloomsbury, 2014. Pp. xii, 204. Hb. £20. ISBN 978-1-4729-1043-1.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Maslen, University of London


The Sound of the Liturgy: How Words Work in Worship
C. J.-B. Hammon
London: SPCK, 2015. Pp. x, 192. Pb. ISBN 978-0-281-06954-5.

Reviewed by Bridget Nichols, Ely 


Illusions of Freedom: Thomas Merton and Jacques Ellul on Technology and the Human Condition
J. M. Shaw
Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2014. Pp. xii, 193. Pb. £20. ISBN 978-0-7188-9362-0.

Reviewed by Fiona Gardner, Bath Spa University 


Ageing, Ritual and Social Change: Comparing the Secular and Religious in Eastern and Western Europe
P. G. Coleman, D. Koleva and J. Bornat, eds.
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2013. Pp. xviii, 283. Pb. £19.99. ISBN 978-1-4094-5215-7.

Reviewed by James Woodward, Windsor Castle 


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

Reviewed by John Drane, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA


Apostles Today: Making Sense of Contemporary Charismatic Apostolates: A Historical and Theological Appraisal
B. G. McNair Scott
Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2014. Pp. xviii, 254. Pb. £22.50. ISBN 978-0-7188-9355-2.

Reviewed by Stephen Hunt, University of the West of England, Bristol


Rethinking Trinitarian Theology: Disputed Questions and Contemporary Issues in Trinitarian Theology
G. Maspero and R. J. Woźniak, eds.
London and New York: T. and T. Clark International, 2012. Pp. xiv, 498. Pb. £24.99. ISBN 978-0-567-22546-7.

Reviewed by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, Belmont, Durham


Theological Method: A Guide for the Perplexed
P. L. Allen
London and New York: T. and T. Clark International, 2012. Pp. x, 262. Pb. £14.99. ISBN 978-0-567-11908-7.

Reviewed by Alex Garton, Heidelberg University


Ricoeur and Theology
D. R. Stiver, 
London and New York: Bloomsbury T. and T. Clark, 2012. Pp. xii, 205. Pb. £14.99. ISBN 978-0-567-53786-7.

J. A. Walters, Baudrillard and Theology
London and New York: T. and T. Clark International, 2012. Pp. viii, 182. Pb. £14.99. ISBN 978-0-567-55972-2.

C. B. Simpson, Deleuze and Theology.
London and New York: Bloomsbury T. and T. Clark, 2012. Pp. vi, 191. Pb. £16.99. ISBN 978-0-567-44575-9.

Reviewed by John Reader, Ironstone Benefice and William Temple Foundation


In Defence of Doubt: An Invitation to Adventure, 2nd edn.
V. Webb
Preston, Australia: Mosaic Press, 2012. Pp. vi, 183. Pb. £19.99. ISBN 978-1-74324-055-7.

Reviewed by John Saxbee, Haverfordwest 


Contemporary Creed: Reasonable Pathways through the Problems of Christian Beliefs and Ethics, 2nd edn.
J. D. Morris
Winchester and Washington: O-Books, 2012. Pp. 212. Pb. £9.99.

Reviewed by Martin Camroux, Colchester 


The Last Testament
D. Cupitt
London: SCM Press, 2012. Pp. x, 146. Pb. ISBN 978-0-334-04622-6.

Reviewed by Paul Badham, University of Wales, Trinity St David


The Underground Church: Reclaiming the Subversive Way of Jesus
R. R. Meyers
London: SPCK, 2012. Pp. xvi, 266. Pb. £12.99. ISBN 978-0-281-06941-5.

Reviewed by Adrian Alker, Progressive Christianity Network Britain, Newnham, Gloucestershire 


The Early Church at Work and Worship. Volume 1: Ministry, Ordination, Covenant, and Canon
E. Ferguson
Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2014. Pp. xii, 341. Pb. £25. ISBN 978-0-227-17489-0.

The Early Church at Work and Worship. Volume 2: Catechesis, Baptism, Eschatology, and Martyrdom
E. Ferguson
Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2014. Pp. x, 351. Pb. £25. ISBN 978-0-227-17490-6.

Reviewed by Paul Bradshaw, University of Notre Dame, IN 


Preaching in Hitler's Shadow: Sermons of Resistance in the Third Reich
D. G. Stroud, ed.
Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2013. Pp. xii, 203. Pb. £14.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-6902-9.

Karl Barth's Emergency Homiletic, 1932-1933: A Summons to Prophetic Witness at the Dawn of the Third Reich
A. D. Hancock
Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2013. Pp. xvi, 356. Pb. £28.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-6734-6.

Reviewed by Andrew Chandler, University of Chichester 


Archbishop Fisher, 1945-1961: Church, State and World
A. Chandler and D. Hein
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2012. Pp. viii, 261. Pb. £19.99. ISBN 978-1-4094-1233-5.

Reviewed by Mark Dorsett, King's School, Worcester 


Vatican II: Fifty Personal Stories
W. Madges and M. J. Daley, eds.
Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2012. Pp. xxviii, 300. Pb. £18.99. ISBN 978-1-57075-993-2.

Reviewed by Thomas Knieps-Port le Roi, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium 


Bread Not Stones: The Autobiography of an Eventful Life
U. M. P. Kroll
Alresford: Christian Alternative Books, 2014. Pp. xii, 130. Pb. £9.99. ISBN 978-1-78279-804-0.

Reviewed by Angela Tilby, Christ Church, Oxford


Calling on the Spirit in Unsettling Times: Discerning God's Future for the Church
W. L. Countryman
London: Canterbury Press Norwich, 2012. Pp. xii, 110. Pb. ISBN 978-1-84825-169-4.

Reviewed by Lorraine Cavanagh, Abergavenny


Finding God in Other Christians
L. M. Cavanagh
London: SPCK, 2012. Pp. xiv, 109. Pb. ISBN 978-0-281-06585-1.

Reviewed by Tim Laundon, Wetherby 


Edward Schillebeeckx and Interreligious Dialogue: Perspectives from Asian Theology
E. K.-F. Chia
Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2012. Pp. xii, 165. Pb. $20. ISBN-13: 978-1610971157.

Reviewed by Paul Hedges, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore


Zionism and the Quest for Justice in the Holy Land
D. E. Wagner and W. T. Davis, eds.
Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2014. Pp. xxiv, 250. Pb. £25. ISBN 978-0-7188-9365-1.

Reviewed by Mary Grey, Wherwell, Andover 


The Resurrection of Peace: A Gospel Journey to Easter and Beyond
M. C. Grey
London: SPCK, 2012. Pp. viii, 129. Pb. £7.99. ISBN 978-0-281-06637-7.

Reviewed by Samuel McBratney, Queen's Foundation, Birmingham 


Christian Ethics: A Guide for the Perplexed
V. L. Austin
London and New York: Bloomsbury T. and T. Clark, 2012. Pp. xii, 177. Pb. £14.99. ISBN 978-0-567-03220-1.

Reviewed by Cathriona Russell, Trinity College, Dublin 


The Rest of Life: Rest, Play, Eating, Studying, Sex from a Kingdom Perspective
B. Witherington
Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2012. Pp. x, 158. Pb. £11.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-6737-7.

Reviewed by Richard Higginson, Ridley Hall, Cambridge


ReVisioning: Critical Methods of Seeing Christianity in the History of Art
J. G. Romaine and L. H. Stratford, eds.
Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2014. Pp. xx, 356. Pb. £35. ISBN 978-0-7188-9336-1.

Reviewed by Richard Harries, King's College, London 


Lost Sons: God's Long Search for Humanity
M. Sadgrove
London: SPCK, 2012. Pp. x, 150. Pb. £9.99. ISBN 978-0-281-06214-0.

Reviewed by Susan Durber, Christian Aid, London


Philosophy, History, and Theology: Selected Reviews 1975-2011
A. P. F. Sell
Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2012. Pp. xii, 324. Pb. ISBN 978-1-61097-968-9.

Reviewed by Michael Brierley, Worcester Cathedral 


Short Reviews


Sacraments and Worship: Key Readings in the History and Theology of Christian Worship from the New Testament to the Present.
M. E. Johnson, ed.
London: SPCK, 2012. Pp. xvi, 422. Pb. ISBN 978-0-281-06803-6.

Reviewed by Jo Spreadbury, Abbots Langley


A Reader in Ecclesiology
B. P. Stone
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2012. Pp. xxii, 271. Pb. £19.99. ISBN 978-1-4094-2856-5.

Reviewed by Luke Hopkins, University of Divinity, Melbourne