Five scholarships up for grabs for CSBM’s Bible and Mission MA

Firstly, thank you! It’s been wonderful to receive such enthusiasm and encouragement following our announcement on Tuesday that Redcliffe and Trinity are now working together on the Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission. We are truly excited about what is ahead and hope you will journey with us.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be posting content on this blog to show more of what this partnership will involve. Today I want to highlight an exciting opportunity for those considering Master’s level study in Bible and Mission.

Recently Redcliffe announced the availability of 25 scholarships over the coming year for new students on its blended MA programmes. Five of these scholarships have been set aside specifically for our Bible and Mission MA. This is a big deal, as in real-terms these scholarships could mean 25% off your tuition fees for the full course – definitely worth exploring, and once they’re gone – they’re gone!

You can find out more about the content of the MA programme here. It is studied part-time over two- to four years and is designed to fit alongside (and even integrate) work and other ministry commitments.

Typically a student will come to two Summer School intensives (held in July), or combine this with long weekend mode for two of the modules. These are the modules:

  • Research Methods and Approaches for Missiological Study;
  • Global Missiological Issues in Intercultural Contexts;
  • Reading the Bible Missionally;
  • Scripture Engagement: Approaches and Issues;
  • Dissertation

Naturally, I’m a big fan of this course! Sinking deep roots into a missional reading of Scripture can be a life-transforming experience, impacting how we read, study, preach and teach the Bible. I love seeing students’ excitement over the whole-Bible approach to mission, and love hearing how it is fuelling their passion and decision-making in mission. It’s been wonderful to see students engaging deeply with Scripture while also wrestling with issues very particular to their roles and contexts.

To give you a flavour, these are some of the dissertation topics that have been done over the last few years:

Power at Work: Assessing the opportunity for UK Christians to be missional disciples through the stewardship of their personal power in the workplace

An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Simply The Story (STS) Workshops for Oral Learners in Ethiopia

The Impact of Vernacular Scriptures: Assessing the benefit of local language Scriptures among the bilingual Malila and Nyiha communities of Tanzania

A Missional Reading of 2 Corinthians 1-7

Umuhimu wa Biblia: An investigation into how Tanzanian Christians perceive and engage with God’s Word

Nahum and the Nations: A Missional Reading

The Missional Function of the Levitical Priesthood

A Better Way: Leading a Bible Study for Oral-Preferenced Learners

A Missional Reading of ‘The Beatitudes’

Y Alpha? An Evaluation of the Adaptation of the Alpha Course for a Generation Y Audience

What’s So Missional About Meaninglessness?: A Missional Reading of Ecclesiastes

What is your particular passion when it comes to Bible and Mission? Have these dissertation titles whetted your appetite for what you’d love to research, given the chance? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below, and hear about exactly where you’d love to explore mission in the Scriptures – or perhaps which Scriptures you’d love to use more effectively in mission!

Drop me a line if you’d like to explore more about the course, and to find out more about the scholarships.

Thinking about Gender and Mission on International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, and I have Gender and Mission on my mind.

Peppiatt, Lucy (2015) Women and Worship at Corinth: Paul’s Rhetorical Arguments in 1 Corinthians, Eugene: Wipf and Stock

I’m preparing for Redcliffe’s new MA module on Gender and Mission and gathering resources to get students thinking about the many and complex issues involved. One excellent example is Lucy Peppiatt’s “Women and Worship at Corinth: Paul’s Rhetorical Arguments in 1 Corinthians“. It is a bold and brilliant take on some of the controversial passages in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.

Peppiatt recognises that the issues in these passages touch deep nerves within us, and impact on not only our theology, but our church dynamics, and pastoral concerns as well. The issues can’t be approached in a detached manner, because “too much depends on the outcome” (p1). So true.

She shows how interpreters have variously concluded that Paul is either confused himself about his views on women, or patriarchal (i.e. a typical man of his day), or simply a misogynist. Yet from what we know of his life, from Acts and his other letters, it is clear that Paul had female friends, recognised women in Christian leadership (Phoebe, Priscilla), respected women, and even referred to one woman as an apostle. It does not seem likely that Paul was any of the things suggested above.

The thesis of the book is that in the passages where Paul appears to contradict himself on women, he is using rhetoric, whereby he quotes the wrong views of the Corinthian Christians and then rebuts them. This was a known rhetorical device, and is sometimes easily recognisable in our Bibles, as in 1 Cor 6:12: 

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.

– the quotation marks are added in the English but are not there in the Greek, because Greek doesn’t use them. We all accept that Paul is quoting a saying. Another similar example is 1 Cor 10:23.

So Peppiatt concludes that Paul taught that women did not need to be veiled to speak in church – “we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God” (1 Cor 11:16). Similar explanations are proposed for understanding the passages women keeping silent in church, on tongues and behaviour at the Lord’s Supper.

Whether or not you agree with Peppiatt’s reading of Paul, this book is a call for rigorous thinking on this and other complex issues. Assumptions need to be challenged from time to time, and implications for mission and ministry thought through.

If you are interested in questions of gender, church and mission, why not explore them in our new Gender and Mission module at Redcliffe College?

This will give you the opportunity to develop your theological, biblical and cultural understanding of various gender issues, such as Humanness and Identity; Gender in the Bible; Women in mission; Feminist theology across cultures and religious groups; Cultural understandings of sexuality and marriage ; Gender-based violence; including FGM, rape, trafficking and forced marriages; Justice and gender; and Gender and the cross-cultural worker.

As well as Redcliffe faculty, there will be visiting lectures by Dr Lucy Peppiatt (so you can talk to her more about her book there!), Dr Elaine Storkey, and Rev Dr Ian Paul.

The module runs from 24 – 28 July 2017, and can either be taken as a stand-alone short course, or as part of a whole MA in Contemporary Missiology, Global Leadership, or Member Care. See this link for more details: