Journal of Bible and Mission

Is it time for a journal specifically dedicated to Bible and mission? So far I’ve edited individual editions of Redcliffe’s Encounters journal on the theme of Bible and Mission:

Mission and the Old Testament – April 2007

The Bible and Mission – June 2009

The Psalms and Mission – June 2010 (due out early next month)

But is this enough for such a vast and growing area of scholarly and practical interest? There are many biblical studies journals and numerous periodicals addressing mission thinking and praxis. But, as far as I am aware, there is nothing that offers a regular, sustained treatment of mission in the Bible and the Bible in mission.

What would you want to see a ‘Journal of Bible and Mission’ do?

Redcliffe College launches the Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission

On Wednesday evening, Redcliffe College hosted the 2010 Annual Lecture in Bible and Mission, which incorporated the official launch of the Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission. The event was put on in partnership with Wycliffe Bible Translators, Bible Society and Keswick Ministries. We also streamed it live on ustreamtv, which seemed to work well.

The lecture hall at Redcliffe was full, which was great to see. After a brief welcome I gave a presentation about the ethos and activities of the Centre. David Spriggs from Bible Society then came to the front and prayed a wonderful prayer, dedicating the Centre to God.

I then introduced Gordon Wenham who gave a lecture on the theme of ‘The Nations in the Psalms’. It was an excellent case study in tracing a theme canonically through the whole Psalter. I then gave a ten-minute ‘missional response’ in which I reflected particularly on ‘the Psalms in the Nations’; i.e., the Psalms as a tool of mission. We then had some time left over for an involved Q&A session.

When organising this event we have half an eye on how it might be used as a resource afterwards. Here’s what we are planning:

  • Encounters Issue 33 (June 2010 – due out in the first week of June) is on The Psalms and Mission and will feature the full text of Gordon’s paper along with my intro to the Centre and missional response. There will also be a number of other papers on issues relating to the Psalms and mission from a variety of perspectives.
  • We will be editing a video of the lecture and posting it on the web in the near future.
  • We will also make an audio version of the lecture available.

More on these in due course.

To finish this post, here’s an excerpt from a news item on Redcliffe’s website

The official launch of Redcliffe College’s new Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission took place on Wednesday 12 May at the College. This exciting initiative aims to serve the Church by engaging in research, teaching, writing and speaking on mission in the Bible and the Bible in mission.Web and digital media will be used extensively to make the news and activities of the centre widely accessible. There will be an annual public lecture and bi-annual consultation on an aspect of Bible and Mission, and the Centre will have visiting scholars from the two-thirds world who will input into the teaching programme and community life at Redcliffe.  The College is also working together with key agencies such as Wycliffe Bible Translators and Bible Society to develop the activities of the Centre, and is looking forward to being involved in events and initiatives such as the Keswick Convention and Biblefresh. 

Rob Hay, Principal of Redcliffe College commented: “At Redcliffe we are committed to ensuring our preparation of men and women for Christian service around the world is rooted in the Scriptures. Mission is the central theme of the Bible – and people involved in mission need to be equipped to demonstrate and proclaim the stories, images and truths of the Bible in their specific context. Redcliffe’s Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission makes a unique contribution to this area.”  

Speaking after the launch, Tim Davy, Director of the Centre, and Lecturer in Biblical Studies at Redcliffe said: “The evening summed up what is so exciting about the Centre. The lecture hall was packed with church members and leaders, biblical scholars and missiologists, mission agency personnel and students preparing for cross-cultural service. This reflects both the felt need and enthusiasm for what we are doing, and the importance of partnership, which lies at the heart of the whole initiative.” 

Bible and mission at the Baptist Assembly

This year’s Baptist Assembly will include two seminars on the theme of Bible and mission (thanks to my Redcliffe colleague Darrell Jackson for pointing this out to me). They are both on Saturday 1 May.

Here are the details…

Through different eyes: Reading the Bible in a global community
More and more Christians based in the UK are finding their experience of the Bible wonderfully enriched, as the eyes of readers around the world unlock fresh perspectives. Richard Kidd, Joe Kapolyo and Kumar Rajagopalan will tackle some familiar texts – expecting you never to hear them the same way again!
Arranged by the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Baptist Colleges

One God, one Bible, one mission: Reading scripture as the story of a missionary movement
What is the biblical basis for understanding the one mission to which we are called? Glen Marshall and Roger Standing will help open our eyes and hearts to God’s big story and encourage us to discover the ways in which we are being invited to take part.
Arranged by the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Baptist Colleges 

Excellent to see Bible and mission getting such good air time at these high profile events. If you are going to the Assembly, check it out and let me know what you thought.

Lausanne global conversation on Scripture in mission

The Lausanne Movement is calling on Christians from around the globle to engage in various conversations that will help the church to engage with the big issues of contemporary mission.

The Global Conversation covers the following categories and topics:

Truth: Bearing witness to the truth of Jesus Christ
– Marketplace Ministry
– Personal Witness
– Truth and Secularity

Reconciliation: Pursuing peace in our broken world
– Environment
– Ethnicity and Identity
– Poverty and Wealth
– Resource Stewardship

World Faiths: Loving our neighbours of other faiths/worldviews
– Diaspora
– Unreached People Groups
– World Faiths

New Missions Priorities: Discerning God’s priorities for the future
– Children
– Forming Leaders
– Orality
– Urban Mission

Authenticity and Integrity: Living a Christ-like lifestyle
– Prosperity Gospel
– Women and Men
– The Human Future

Partnerships: Serving together in love and humility
– Globalization
– Indigenous Leadership
– Partnership Development
– Scripture in Mission

Below I’ve put the general blurb about the conversation along with descriptions about two of the topics most closely aligned with the Bible and mission: orality and Scripture in mission. Do have a look and get involved: Join the global conversation

The Big Picture
We are living in a time of enormous challenge and amazing opportunity for the church. The life and witness of the church around the world is being assailed by external pressures while simultaneously being weakened by internal troubles. Yet the church also faces unprecedented global opportunities for the spread of the gospel and open doors for ministry in regions traditionally closed to the witness of Christ.
Unfortunately, a concerted and well-reasoned response to these global issues and opportunities has been difficult because the church, and evangelicalism in particular, is highly fragmented.
The Lausanne Global Conversation is one step towards bringing together the global church to engage with these important issues related to world evangelization.
We believe these global issues need global conversations.
So let’s talk, let’s strategize, let’s work together. Above all, let’s pray–with a sense of expectation and hope–for the Lord to bring wisdom through the counsel of many (Proverbs 11:14).
Your voice in the conversation is needed. Every Christian has unique experience and insight to offer the church.

Orality
Two thirds of the people in the world are oral communicators – who can’t, don’t, or won’t learn through literate means. Western Christianity has, since the time of the Gutenberg Bible “walked on literate feet” and has directly or indirectly required literacy of others, ignoring the vast majority of people who are oral communicators. Literate Christians must make significant changes in evangelism, discipleship, leadership training and church planting to reach the 4,000,000,000 oral communicators world-wide.

Scripture in Mission
The purpose of the Scriptures as Paul wrote to Timothy is to make us wise about the way of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and to equip us for every good work as God’s people (2 Timothy 3:14-17). The Scriptures therefore are essential to evangelism and to Christ-like transformation. However, where the Scriptures are not available or where people cannot study and apply them, we find “Bible poverty.”
In this conversation we want to consider the issue of “Bible poverty.” Bible poverty exists when people find themselves in a context or setting that blocks them from hearing the truths of the Scriptures. This happens, for example, when they do not have access to the Scriptures in a language they understand well, or they are unable to engage with the Scriptures in a meaningful way, or they do not have the opportunity to apply them to their lives.
Contexts such as these can be called “barriers.” Some barriers are universal or nearly so while others differ according to context. We want to consider what barriers exist in urban contexts, in rural contexts, in contexts where other major religions dominate, and in contexts of the post-modern West.
As we consider barriers to the Scriptures, we also want to identify the bridges that would allow people to transcend and overcome these barriers. In some cases the bridges are easy to identify, but in other cases they will require searching together under the guidance of the Spirit of God to discern the way forward.

Calling all Bible and mission bloggers!

How many people out there are blogging on the Bible and mission? According to WordPress, they provide space for 290,188 bloggers and just today there has been the following activity on WordPress.com:

258,217 new posts
355,171 comments
60,395,829 words

A while ago I wrote about two of my favourite Bible and mission blogs, Brian Russell’s realmealministries and Eddie Arthur’s kouya chronicle. But how many others are there writing consistently on the dynamic interplay between the Bible and mission?

A further question: how might we define a blog as being ‘about Bible and mission’? Does it have to be exclusively looking at Bible and mission or should it just make regular contributions on the subject?

So what do you think? Drop me a line with any suggestions for Bible and mission blogs. Let’s broaden the conversation…

The Bible in World Christian Perspective

The Bible in World Christian Perspective is the title of a book of studies in honour of Carl Armerding, formerly of Schloss Mittersill Study Centre, Austria and Regent College, Vancouver. It is edited by David W. Baker and W. Ward Gasque (Vancouver: Regent College Publishing, 2009).

Here are the blurb and contents:

The Bible is by far the most widely translated and circulated book in the world, and Christianity is by far the most globally dispersed religion. The Christian faith can no longer be said to be a “Western” religion. The axis of influence in the world Christian movement is now in the South and the East. Africa is home to the largest number of Christians, and now China, where a generation ago prospects for the faith looked most unpromising, represents the locus where the church is growing most rapidly.

Theological education has also changed radically in recent years. As the church has grown throughout the world, new forms of equipping both clergy and laity for ministry have sprung up to meet changing needs and circumstances.

Carl E. Armerding has played a major role in re-shaping theological education. He was a founding member of the faculty of Regent College, Vancouver, Canada (1970–91), a globally influential school of theology, and served as its second President (1977–88). Having given leadership to the college during the period of its greatest growth and the development of its beautiful campus, he invested the next decade- and-a-half of his life in providing innovative Christian higher education to a wide range of international students, especially those from Central and Eastern Europe, as the Director of Schloss Mittersill Study Centre, Austria (1991–2006), and at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (1991–2002). He continues to teach and to advise students associated with these three institutions, along with others around the world. This collection of essays by colleagues, former students, and friends is an expression of appreciation for the leadership he has given to Christian higher education.

Table of contents:

1. The Bible in the World and the World of the Bible – David W. Baker
2. Exodus 22:1-4: A Case of Restitution vs. Retribution – Robin J. DeWitt Knauth
3. Eight Key Functions of Leadership – Soo-Inn Tan
4. Herodotus and Esther: A Second Look – Robert L. Hubbard, Jr.
5. Some Reflections on Paul’s Understanding of Christ as Lord – Gordon D. Fee
6. Petitionary Prayer and the Nature of God – Clark H. Pinnock
7. The Reforming Agency of a Psalm in the Later Middle Ages – James M. Houston
8. Becoming the People’s Book: A Brief History of the Bible in China – Glen G. Scorgie
9. What Evangelicals Can Learn from the Benedictines – Laurel Gasque and W. Ward Gasque
10. Apologetics Today: Learning from a Master – Michael Green
11. Old Testament Narrative and Christian Ethics – Jonathan R. Wilson
12. Turning a Blind Eye: Emmanuel Levinas, John 9, and the Blindness of Responsibility – Jeff Keuss
13. Mission as the Integrating Center of Theological Education – Jeffrey P. Greenman
14. Reading the Bible in the Global Marketplace – R. Paul Stevens
15. The Heart of Leadership is Asking the Right Questions – Peter Shaw CB
16. The Names Human and the Question of ‘Being’ Christlike – Darrell Cosden

2010 Redcliffe lecture in Bible and Mission – Gordon Wenham on the Psalms

Prof Gordon WenhamI’m pleased to announce that this year’s Redcliffe Lecture in Bible and Mission will be on Wed 12 May and delivered by Prof Gordon Wenham who will be speaking on the theme of ‘The Nations in the Psalms’.

As you will see from the blurb below from Redcliffe’s website, the evening will also incorporate the public launch of the Centre. Similar to last year’s lecture by Chris Wright, the event will form the basis of a Bible and Mission issue of Encounters Mission journal, which will be out in early June.

Watch this space for updates. Here are the details so far:

Redcliffe Lecture in Bible and Mission:

The Nations in the Psalms

With Prof Gordon Wenham, Tutor in Old Testament at Trinity College, Bristol

Wednesday 12 May 2010
7.00pm to 9.00pm

In partnership with Bible Society and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

The 2010 lecture in Bible and Mission will be delivered by world-renowned biblical scholar Prof Gordon Wenham on the topic ‘The Nations in the Psalms’.

Even on a superfical reading of the Psalms, we come across a diversity of ideas regarding ‘the nations’:

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? (2:1, ESV)
let the nations be judged before you! (9:19)
God reigns over the nations (47:8)
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy (67:4)
Declare his glory among the nations (96:3)
Praise the LORD, all nations! (117:1)

How then are we to understand the complex relationships between Israel, the nations and God? And what insights for mission might we gain from these and other texts in the Psalms?

After Prof Wenham’s lecture a ‘missional response’ will be offered by Tim Davy, lecturer in Biblical Studies and Director of the Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission.

Launch of the Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission

The evening will also incorporate the public launch of an exciting new Redcliffe initiative. The Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission aims to serve the Church by engaging in research, teaching, writing and speaking on mission in the Bible, and the Bible in mission thinking, practice and training. Its goal is to encourage Christians to reflect on mission biblically and the Bible missionally.

Prof Gordon Wenham is tutor in Old Testament at Trinity College, Bristol. Prior to this he was Professor of Old Testament at the University of Gloucestershire. He has held teaching positions or served as visiting lecturer at a range of institutions around the world. He is the author of numerous publications and combines scholarly excellence with clarity and accessibility. His main research interests are the Pentateuch, the Bible and Ethics, and the Psalms.

Book now
The lecture is free but pre-booking is required. To book your place, contact events@redcliffe.org.

Tom Wright on Biblefresh, the Bible and mission

At a recent event in Durham to launch the Biblefresh initiative, Tom Wright gave a talk on ‘World-changing Bible readers’. It is available on Slipstream’s website.

Here’s a quote:

The Bible is the book that reminds us who we are and what we’re here for. We are the people of God for the world. We are the people charged with taking forward the mission of God, the work of Christ, in the power of the Spirit for the world. This is a mission-shaped Bible reading, if you like. The mission of the Church grows directly out of the narrative of Scripture and the narrative of Scripture which runs from creation to new creation is a narrative which catches us up, shows us where we are within it and tells us what we are there for.

New Chris Wright book on The Mission of God’s People

Zondervan have announced the September 2010 publication of a new book by Chris Wright entitled, The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission. This is sure to be another very significant publication from one of the foremost writers of our generation on Bible and Mission.

Here is the publisher blurb:

In The Mission of God’s People, Chris Wright shows how God’s big-picture plan directs the purpose of God’s people, the church. Wright’s pioneering 2006 book, The Mission of God, revealed that the typical Christian understanding of “missions” encompasses only a small part of God’s overarching mission for the world. God is relentlessly reclaiming the entire world for himself. Wright emphasizes what the Old Testament teaches Christians about being the people of God. He addresses questions of both ecclesiology and missiology with topics like “called to care for creation,” “called to bless the nations,” “sending and being sent,” and “rejecting false gods.” As part of the Biblical Theology for Life Series, this book provides you—whether you’re a pastor, teacher, or lay learner—with first-rate biblical study while at the same time addressing the practical concerns of contemporary ministry. The Mission of God’s People promises to enliven and refocus the study, teaching, and ministry of those truly committed to joining God’s work in the world.

Zondervan also note a talk that Wright gave the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary’s Spring Lectureship, which focused on the message of The Mission of God’s People, which is available for free here.

Last year Chris came to Redcliffe to deliver a public lecture on ‘The Bible and Mission’. Here is my post on the subsequent Bible and Mission issue of Encounters Mission journal, which was based on the lecture and responses to it.

Bible and Mission at Edinburgh 2010

One of the study topics of this year’s Edinburgh 2010 conference is entitled, ‘Bible and mission ~ mission in the Bible’. It is one of the ‘transversal topics’ (along with Women and mission; Youth and mission; Healing and reconciliation; Contextualization, inculturation and dialogue of worldviews; Subaltern voices; and Ecological perspectives on mission), which are themes that thread across the main study areas of Foundations for mission; Christian mission among other faiths; Mission and post-modernity; Mission and power; Forms of missionary engagement; Theological education and formation; Christian communities in contemporary contexts; Mission and unity – ecclesiology and mission; and Mission spirituality and authentic discipleship.
The intro on the Bible and mission page has the following introduction:
The Bible has a very important place in mission: as source of authority and resource for mission, and because the Bible testifies to God’s mission in many ways. Two main groups are participating in Edinburgh 2010 by addressing this key topic for any Christian approach to mission: the Francophone Association for Mission Studies (AFOM) and the Forum of Bible Agencies International (FOBA-). Find details of their activities on this page, and other links.
For more information visit the Edinburgh 2010 Bible and Mission page