Archive for the ‘Trinity College’ Category

You may notice, from the poster below,  that I get to give a 10 minute response to what is sure to be a fascinating and controversial paper by Robin Parry.


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Here is an advertisement from Trinity College, Bristol website about their summer conference.


Trinity’s Summer Conference
15-17 June 2010

The challenges of relating the Gospel to aspects of today’s western culture: how can we speak about truth with integrity? How should we respond to the ‘new atheism’? What should be the church’s mission in a ‘post-Christendom’ world? What will incarnational mission involve?

We invite you to join us this summer:

  • hear some stimulating talks from well-known teachers and writers

  • discuss the vital topic of  Christian mission in today’s complex world

  • come to a public lecture by Prof. John Drane on ‘Down to Earth Mission’

  • attend the AGM of the Trinity Association and meet other former students and staff

  • find out about Trinity today from current students

  • enjoy Trinity’s 13-acre campus in a quiet part of Bristol, near the Downs


Our speakers are eminently qualified to address these issues from their many years of writing and engagement with the relationship between gospel and culture:

Alister McGrath

Revd Professor Alister McGrath 15 June
Professor of Theology, Ministry and Education, and Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture at King’s College, London; author of many books on apologetics, theology, science and faith.
More about Alister McGrath

John Drane

Revd Dr John Drane 16, 17 June
Biblical scholar and minister who writes and speaks on modern culture, spirituality and mission; author of introductions to the Old and New Testaments and (among others) The Macdonaldization of The Church

Olive Fleming Drane

Revd Olive Fleming Drane 16, 17 June
Theologian and minister who writes and leads workshops on faith-sharing, spirituality, creative worship, visual arts, clowning ministry and dance; author of Clowns, Storytellers, Disciples and Faith in a Changing Culture.

John and Olive Drane are authors of Creative Arts and the Bible.
More about John and Olive Drane.

Provisional programme

Tuesday 15 June with Alister McGrath, from 9.30am

Alister will speak at a morning and an afternoon session on ‘The God Delusion? Engaging the “new atheism” ‘ and ‘The Joy of Faith: reconnecting the gospel and our culture’

Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 June with John and Olive Drane, from 9.30am

John will speak on Wednesday morning on ‘Post-Christendom Mission’ and in the afternoon he and Olive will be leading workshops, along with others, on aspects of gospel and culture. In the evening John will give a public lecture on ‘Down to Earth Mission’. On Thursday morning they will speak on ‘Mission, spirituality and lifestyle’. The AGM of the Trinity Association will also be held on Thursday morning.

The event will finish on the Thursday after lunch.

With a Garden Party on the Tuesday afternoon, a special student presentation on engaging contemporary western culture, the AGM for alumni, and many opportunities to connect with students past and present, this event will be the highlight of Trinity’s year.

Registration costs

For each day’s programme:
Tuesday and Wednesday: £10 per day for Trinity alumni; £15 for others (includes lunch and supper)
Thursday: £5 if staying for lunch.
Overnight accommodation: £15 per night per person B and B

Early booking recommended!

Book online: save the attached form (Word document), fill it in and email it back.

Those who receive the newsletter in the UK will have had a booking form enclosed with their copy.

Queries or requests for a paper booking form to Mrs Jean Williams at Trinity. Email Jean Williams.

Truth with a Mission poster

Download a brochure: pdf (two A5 size on A4 sheet)

Download A4 poster

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The Death of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark

The purpose of my last few months of research has been to explore, within the narrative of the gospel of Mark, the link between Jesus’ death and the Temple.  This link is clearly to be seen at the surface level of the passion narratives where the  Temple and the  cross are fused together in the closing stages of the Markan narrative. For instance, Jesus at his trial, which leads directly to his execution, is  falsely accused of saying that he would destroy the Temple sanctuary ( ναὸν) and replace it with another (14:58). This accusation is repeated during the crucifixion  in the form of mockery  (15:29) and at the point of death the link between Jesus’ death and the Temple is made explicit, ‘for a single instant…. we [the reader] are transplanted from Golgotha to the Temple area, and then back to Golgotha’ when the veil of the Temple was torn (ἐσχίσθη)  in two (15:38).

The attached paper (click on title above)  seeks to explore these themes.

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Today I had the pleasure of sharing a few insights on mission and worldview to the members of the ‘College Green’ pastoral group at Trinity College.. This group has pioneered and developed a chaplaincy which seeks to serve and bear witness to the young people who gather outside of Bristol Cathedral. Further information can be found here. The session today was intended to provide a theoretical/theological/philosophical basis for using worldviews in evangelism. On a practical level we will be using a modified version of the UCCF worldview questionnaire to engage in discussion.

If any church or group would like me to come and lead an interactive workshop on  ‘Worldview and Mission’ then I would be more than happy to assist. There would be no charge for any group in the Bristol area and for anyone else, within reason,  I would only ask that traveling expenses be covered. If interested then just leave a comment on this post. I can get references for those who want to know that I am kosher and can communicate effectively. I have previously discussed this material at West Yorkshire School of Christian Studies, local churches and a ‘Exploring Vocations’ retreat.

The following is primarily aimed as a resource bank for the pastoral group.

My presentation can be found using the following link.

I mentioned 2 books in my presentation.

Walsh and Middleton, Transforming Vision which introduces the reader to a Christian worldview. This book, if i remember rightly, takes a look at the worldview questions.

Where are you? Who are you? What is the problem? What is the solution? Where are we going? It will be worth checking out my  mate, Mark Roques’ website who has a great page on the worldview questions and sketches out a number of answers from different worldviews.  Also check out his podcasts.

I also recommended N.T Wright’s ‘New Testament and the People of God’ which provided the story, symbols, q+a, praxis part of my presentation. This book is great and will greatly assist you in hermeneutics and study of the New Testament. It is meaty and is not directly related to mission or evangelism. If this is your first year of theological training it may be best to leave on hold for a while. I think that it would be great to try and sit down and sketch out the worldviews of some of the young people you have met. What is their praxis? symbol? story? answers to worldview questions.

If you are interested in the Christian metanarrative and a holistic understanding of mission then check out some of the audio lectures by Micheal Goheen.

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A few years ago, as I was applying to do ordination training and a research degree at Trinity College,  I read Tom Wright’s response to ‘Pierced for our Transgressions’. In this critique, in which he described the book as sub-biblical, he lamented the fact that discussion of the atonement often bypasses the Gospels and heads straight to the Pauline texts. It was this lament which provided a springboard for my own research. On arriving at Trinity, and in discussion with my supervisor, I began to look at Jesus’ death in the gospels. My first paper was an analysis of Mark 10:45 which opened my eyes to how much material I would need to cover. As the years have moved on my focus has moved from the historical Jesus to the Gospel of Mark. with a particular focus on  the death of Jesus in relation to the tribulation, Temple, and exile.   The road is long with many a winding turn….. The following video which I came across by friend and fellow blogger ‘The Bishop’ reminded and encouraged me as to the relevance of my research to the contemporary atonement debate and to the church.

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The librarian at Trinity college, Bristol is excellent. I told her about the book ‘Deep Church’ by Jim Belcher which had recieved numerous good reviews. She ordered a copy  which I was able to pick up today.

Deep-Church-200x300The book explores a path, which he calls Deep Church,  which can be taken which avoids both  traditional evangelicalism and the emergent scene.  A friend pinted out to me that people in the UK may get a little confused as there is a ‘Deep Church’ movement/set of books/blogs in the UK.

There is a ‘Deep Church’ website and excerpts can be found here.

Why was I so keen to get my hands on this book?

Firstly, I appreciate the theological leanings of some of the main traditional evangelical preachers/teachers in the UK such as Don Carson, Wayne Grudem and John Piper. However, I do think that the emergent scene has rightly criticized, amongst other things, the impact of modernity in the formulation of rationalistic evangelical theology. This places me in a strange place. I spend half of my time defending a traditional evangelicalism but this, at times, leaves me feeling uncomfortable. Perhaps this book will help me be more comfortable with my posiition.  Secondly, a quick look at endorsements reveals that this book is spoken highly of by a wide ranger of scholars and practitioners. ie. Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, Scot McKnight, Rob Bell, Dan Kimball. If these people from different theological and ecclesiological positions are in agreement that this is a great book then it should be read. Thirdly, I want to have an ecumenical spirit (I really do) which seeks to build bridges and find unity in the Christian Church. What has Athens to do with Jerusalem Emergent to with Conservative Evangelicalism?… well for starters both camps claim allegiance to Jesus Christ. This book, which seems to be balanced, will explore and critique both traditional and emergent.

Here are some of the endorsements.

“Jim Belcher shows that we don’t have to choose between orthodox evangelical doctrine on the one hand, and cultural engagement, creativity and commitment to social justice on the other. This is an important book.”
—Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City

“Smart, passionate, thoughtful, hopeful and Jesus-centered–this is the Jim Belcher I used to hang out with in the early nineties (like it was so long ago!) at the Huntington–and this is the Jim Belcher in this book. Lots of people are going to find this book very helpful.”
—Rob Bell, pastor, Mars Hill Bible Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, author, Velvet Elvis

“Rising above the usual shallow, facile critiques of the emergent church movement, Jim Belcher has written for us a book that, indeed, goes deep. Jim took the time to listen to emergent voices, and as a result, he appreciates the movement for what it is. And, further, his admonitions ring true. While Jim and I have theological differences, I can heartily recommend Deep Church as an invigorating study of and healthy corrective to both the emergent and traditional church.”
—Tony Jones, author of The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier (http://tonyj.net)

“Deep Church is a thoughtful, helpful and practical addition to the growing field of missional church thinking.”
—Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church, Seattle, president, Acts 29 Church Planting Network, president, Resurgence

I have just read the first few chapters and am not disappointed. Here are some of the highlights so far.

His goal is to provide  ‘well rounded picture of the emerging community’s conviction’. After surveying many books and blogs he sees the emerging church as being critical of several aspects of the traditional church. (For ordinands we must recognize that this book is from a US perspective and that traditional means ‘traditional evangelical’ as opposed to Anglican traditional which means liturgy and bells and smells).

1) Captivity to Enlightenment Rationalism (Yep! evangelicals do like their water tight theological systems)

2) A narrow view of salvation (Being a Tom Wright and Neo-Calvinist fan I agree with this)

3) Belief before belonging

4) Uncontextualized Worship

5) Ineffective teaching. I have tried to deal with some of this here.

6) Weak Ecclessiology

7) Tribalism

He goes on to mention the three fold division which Ed Stetzer employs to describe the emergent church.

1) Relevants- Driscoll

2) Reconstructionists

3) Revisionists- Emergent Village

In this book Belcher will mainly interact with those of the reconstructionists and revisionist camps.

I am going to enjoy reading this book and may well blog my way through it.

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This afternoon we had the first of this years postgraduate seminars in which we welcomed Rev. Dr Alan Garrow His talk was in two parts. In part one he offered a whistlestop but deep introduction to the Didache. In part 2 he sought to show how 1 Thessalonians is related to the eschatological discourse of the Didache.

Rev. Dr Garrow argues, persuasively that the parts of the Didache have an early date (50’s) . In a JSNTS monograph  he argues that that Matthew is dependent on the Didache. The part of his talk which struck me was that Matthew and Didache have many parallels and that most of these parallels (96%?) are found in Special Matthew material. This suggests that Matthew is dependent on the Didache rather than the other way round. I found this convincing.

This has got me thinking about the relationship between the gospel of Mark and the Didache.

Here is chapter 16 of the Didache  from Roberts-Donaldson translation, with Markan parallels in brackets.

Chapter 16. Watchfulness; the Coming of the Lord. Watch for your life’s sake (Mark 13:33,37). Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ready, for you know not the hour in which our Lord will come (Mark 13:35). But come together often, seeking the things which are befitting to your souls: for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if you are not made perfect in the last time. For in the last days false prophets and corrupters shall be multiplied (Mark 13:22-23), and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; for when lawlessness increases, they shall hate and persecute and betray one another (Mark 13:11-13), and then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God (Mark 13:14,21) , and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning(Mark 13:19). Then shall the creation of men come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; but those who endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself(Mark 13:13). And then shall appear the signs of the truth: first, the sign of an outspreading in heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet. And third, the resurrection of the dead — yet not of all, but as it is said: “The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him.” Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.(Mark 13:24-27)

The  Didache in Greek from Loeb edition of the apostolic fathers is also available online

I don’t know what ot make of these parallels between the Didache and Mark 13.  If they are speaking of the same events, irrelevant of issues of dependance, then it rules out a N.T Wright and Perriman reading of the Mark 13:24-27 for the Didache is clear that the parousia is visible and will usher in the final judgement. I have recently written a paper which follows, with some nuancing, a Wright/Perriman/France approach. I would not write the same paper again without researching the date and eschatology of the Didache.

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