Honest to God in Cambridge

by Rosalind Lund
from Signs of the Times No. 49 - Apr 2013

Two events were held in March in Cambridge hosted by the parish of Great St Mary's  and their Vicar, John Binns.

At the first, Adrian Thatcher (editor of Modern Believing) was in conversation  with John Beer (Archdeacon of Cambridge and former research student with John Robinson) to introduce the group to Honest to God and how it changed the church.

We enjoyed a lively debate in the café of Michaelhouse in Trinity Street where the former church of St Michael has been transformed into a most attractive café leaving the chancel and sanctuary reserved for worship - all part of the plant of Great St Mary's.

The second event was entitled "Fifty years - another time of change" with Linda Woodhead (Professor at Lancaster University) in conversation with the Revd Malcolm Brown (Director of Mission and Public Affairs for the Church of England), both of whom are known to Modern Church members.

Rosalind Lund is Modern Church Council Vice-Chair.

Review: Real Scientists, Real Faith ed. Prof R J Berry

by Peter Ashwell
from Signs of the Times No. 49 - Apr 2013

This is a stimulating and erudite book which brings together a series of (mainly) very readable stories written by people who are (as its editor states) probably as diverse as any group of Christians in the sort of places where science is practised, but all claim to have examined the reasons to believe in the Christian faith and have decided that belief is intellectually superior to non-belief and also that it works in real life.

Many Christians probably agree with Simon Conway Morris who sees belligerence, contempt, loathing, derision, condescension, arrogance and sheer bad manners being employed by secularist exponents to make their points. And we know that in 2006, Christians were told by Richard Dawkins, a renowned scientist, that they must be deluded if they had a spiritual faith.

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Drop, drop, slow (crocodile) tears: Thoughts on Holocaust Memorial Day

by Mary Roe
from Signs of the Times No. 49 - Apr 2013

I am no psychologist, but I have lived, observed and pondered for a long time now. 

Back in the 1950's, when I was living in Germany only a short time after WWII, I began to wonder how it was that the really likeable and intelligent Germans whom I got to know could be the same people as those who had carried out the atrocities of the concentration camps.  One of my closest friends had worked in the German Foreign Office in Berlin throughout the war - surely she must have known what was happening? I never asked her, but, like almost all the Germans one met,  in offices, pubs or on trains, she was adamant that she had no knowledge of the camps' existence, but admitted to thinking that 'Hitler didn't like the Jews very much!'

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Modern Church and liberal theology

by Jonathan Clatworthy
from Signs of the Times No. 49 - Apr 2013

What do we stand for?

Modern Church began in 1898 to defend a position, variously described as 'liberal', 'broad church' or 'middle ground', which remains contentious today.

Views were polarising as atheism was on the rise, and biblical scholars questioned the accuracy of biblical texts. Many church leaders repudiated modern scholarship in the name of divine revelation, and conversely leading atheists campaigned against religious belief in the name of science. We argued that Christians should feel free to take on board the insights of new scholarship, judge them on their merits and, when appropriate, change doctrines in the light of them. We have therefore aimed both to defend modern research against religious fundamentalism, and to defend religious belief against atheism.

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Endings and beginnings

by Anthony Woollard
from Signs of the Times No. 49 - Apr 2013

The most dramatic development in the world-wide Church since our last edition has surely been the resignation of the Pope.

The election of his successor gives some hope for a different style of leadership which may help to address some of the Church's immediate issues about sex, money and power; but no-one has suggested any likelihood of a major move towards a more liberal Church on anything like  the scale of the Second Vatican Council. In due course of time, Rome will surely be forced back  to something like the aggiornamento which characterised that Council and whose next stage is already nibbling at that Church's grass roots. But probably not yet.

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