Redcliffe’s 2011 Lecture in Bible and Mission

Reading the Bible with the Global ChurchThis year’s Annual Lecture in Bible and Mission will be held on Wed 30 March, 7pm to 9pm. It is the key public event of the year for the Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission, with previous speakers being Chris Wright on The Bible and Mission and Gordon Wenham on The Nations in the Psalms.

Our lecturer this year is Eddie Arthur, Executive Director of Wycliffe Bible Translators, who will be speaking on the subject, ‘Reading the Bible with the Global Church: Opening our eyes to see how God speaks worldwide’.

It is being put on in partnership with Bible Society, Wycliffe Bible Translators and Biblefresh.

Here are the details from Redcliffe’s website:

We all come to the Bible with our own perspectives, insights and blind spots, which is why reading it with others is vital. But often the groups we are part of come from similar cultural backgrounds. Are there things we could be missing?

Imagine being part of a Bible Study group made up of believers from Britain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso and Bulgaria. How might this open our eyes to read God’s Word afresh?
At this year’s lecture in Bible and Mission Eddie Arthur will explore what it means to read the Bible alongside believers around the world. There will also be discussion groups led by church leaders to unpack what this might look like in a local congregation context.

About Eddie Arthur
Eddie Arthur is the Executive Director of Wycliffe Bible Translators. Previously he has worked as part of the translation team for the Kouya NewTestament in Ivory Coast and as the National Director for a Wycliffe partner organization in Ivory Coast and Mali. You can read more of Eddie’s thoughts on Bible translation and life on his website kouya.net, or follow him on Twitter @kouya

Cost
The evening is free, but prebooking is required.

To book
Please complete the online form or call 01452 308 097.

Directions
Please see our directions page for details on how to find us.

 

Suffice it to say that it should be an excellent evening! Eddie is a clear and deep thinker, a great communicator, and someone with a wealth of experience in the thinking and practice of Bible and mission.

More reflections to follow in the run up to the event…

The Bible and Lausanne’s Cape Town Commitment – part two

The excellent Scripture Engagement website highlighted another part of the Cape Town Commitment related to Bible and Mission.

The following is a section within PART II For the world we serve: The Cape Town Call to Action,  IV. Discerning the will of Christ for world evangelization

C)    Aim to eradicate Bible poverty in the world, for the Bible remains indispensable for evangelism. To do this we must:
(1)   Hasten the translation of the Bible into the languages of peoples who do not yet have any portion of God’s Word in their mother tongue;
(2)   Make the message of the Bible widely available by oral means. (See also Oral cultures below.)

I’ve posted before on the essential task of the continuing task set before the church of Bible Translation. Living in the West it is too easy to take this for granted. We need our conviction and passion for God’s Word, God’s world and God’s people to spur us on to action. This is an issue of justice as much as anything else. I don’t say this lightly.

D)    Aim to eradicate Bible ignorance in the Church, for the Bible remains indispensable for discipling believers into the likeness of Christ.
(1)   We long to see a fresh conviction, gripping all God’s Church, of the central necessity of Bible teaching for the Church’s growth in ministry, unity and maturity…
(2)   We must promote Bible literacy among the generation that now relates primarily to digital communication rather than books, by encouraging digital methods of studying the scriptures inductively with the depth of inquiry that at present requires paper, pens and pencils.
E)    Let us keep evangelism at the centre of the fully-integrated scope of all our mission, inasmuch as the gospel itself is the source, content and authority of all biblically-valid mission. All we do should be both an embodiment and a declaration of the love and grace of God and his saving work through Jesus Christ.

It is not enough to own a Bible (or several) in our heart language. We must know it and engage with it. We must help others do the same. On the issue of technology, how can we engage people with the Bible who ‘don’t do books’? What is interesting to me is the relationship between the ultra-technological generation, many of whom have moved beyond books (or have never engaged with them), and the vast numbers around the world for whom books are not the primary form of communication…

2. Oral cultures
The majority of the world’s population are oral communicators, who cannot or do not learn through literate means, and more than half of them are among the unreached as defined above. Among these, there are an estimated 350 million people without a single verse of Scripture in their language. In addition to the ‘primary oral learners’ there are many ‘secondary oral learners’, that is those who are technically literate but prefer now to communicate in an oral manner, with the rise of visual learning and the dominance of images in communication.
As we recognize and take action on issues of orality, let us:
A)    Make greater use of oral methodologies in discipling programmes, even among literate believers.
B)    Make available an oral format Story Bible in the heart languages of unreached and unengaged people groups as a matter of priority.
C)    Encourage mission agencies to develop oral strategies, including: the recording and distribution of oral Bible stories for evangelism, discipling and leadership training, along with appropriate orality training for pioneer evangelists and church-planters; these could use fruitful oral and visual communication methods for communicating the whole biblical story of salvation, including storytelling, dances, arts, poetry, chants and dramas.
D)    Encourage local churches in the Global South to engage with unreached people groups in their area through oral methods that are specific to their worldview.
E)    Encourage seminaries to provide curricula that will train pastors and missionaries in oral methodologies.

Dealing with the question of orality is one of the major challenges for Bible Engagement in the coming generations. (indeed, it is fair to say it always has been?). So, as the statement asks of us in the final point, what are we doing here at Redcliffe to address the issue. I’ll highlight three things:

1. In our second year Psalms course one of the assignments is to produce a creative piece that comes out of a deep reflection on a psalm. Students have done this in an amazing variety of ways – painting, drawing, sculpting, welding, video, song, sewing, blogging.

2. An new third year module we are looking to deliver (subject to validation) in the next academic year is called Story, Song and Social Networks: Bible Engagement and Oral Culture. It aims to equip students with an understanding of the thinking and practice of communicating the Bible to individuals and communities of oral learners in a variety of cultural contexts. This might be an ‘unreached’ people group who use song as the primary means of communication, or sections of UK culture whose preferred mode of communication is through web 2.0.

3. As well as a module on missional hermeneutics, our MA in Bible and Mission has a module on Bible Engagement in Intercultural Contexts delivered by some fantastic thinker-practitioners from agencies like Wycliffe Bible Translators and Bible Society.

There is more we could do and more we should do, but that is the challenge before us all.

Biblical wisdom and christian engagement with modern culture

This was the title of an excellent conference I attended at the weekend at the Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham. It was organised by Knut Heim, tutor in Biblical Studies at Queen’s and David Spriggs, Bible and Church consultant at Bible Society. Bible Society very generously subsidised the gathering, which attracted about twenty participants ranging from biblical scholars, church ministers, students, and others.

The purpose of the conference was to explore ways in which the UK church could reengage with biblical wisdom, particularly (but not exclusively) the Old Testament books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job.

There was a fantastic range of presentations ranging from a survey of the treatment of the Wisdom Literature in Old Testament scholarship over the last century, to creative ways of engaging contemporary culture with wisdom using web 2.0. An eclectic mix, but this was precisely the point: scholarship and church should be united in understanding and creativity to engage with biblical wisdom for the sake of the world.

I gave a paper on ‘Wisdom, Church and the Mission of God’, which used Chris Wright’s discussion on the Wisdom Literature in his book, The Mission of God as a framework to explore some practical ways in which the church might engage with God’s mission in the world.

All the papers are due to be available in a few weeks time; I’ll let you know when that happens.

I was particularly impressed by the work, creativity and energy of Matt and Juls Hollidge from Kore, who describe their vision as ‘to explore the heart and roots of our faith and to discover what the Kingdom of God looks like in our world.’ Check out the Kore website, which has some excellent resources.

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.

Changes to the Bible and Mission blog

Over the last couple of days I’ve been making a few changes to the structure of the blog, primarily with the purpose of integrating it more fully within the activities of Redcliffe’s new Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission.

A new initiative

For some time we have been working hard to develop a new initiative that will ‘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.’ Though we continue to fundraise we have now received sufficient support from such organisations as Wycliffe Bible Translators and Bible Society for me to have some time to devote to developing the Centre’s activities.

You can see a more detailed explanation of the Centre’s aims and activities on the About page. The main things are teaching (including a new MA in Bible and Mission); hosting an annual lecture and bi-annual consultation in Bible and Mission; research and writing; and hosting a Bible and Mission Scholar from the Majority World each year here at Redcliffe.

What about the blog?

At least for the time being it makes sense to house all the Bible and Mission activities on this site. So it is now more like a microsite than just a blog. Having said that the blog is front and centre and will actually be updated more frequently. It is the best medium by far for thinking aloud and getting across what we are doing in an immediate and accessible way.

I hope you enjoy the developments; let me know what you think!

Chris Wright gives missional reading of Jeremiah at Redcliffe Lecture

I have blogged a few times in anticipation of Chris Wright’s public lecture on The Bible and Mission at Redcliffe College, which he delivered on Tuesday evening. It was a great night providing lots of food for thought (and blogging!).

Chris approached a missional reading of Jeremiah using three of George Hunsberger’s categories for how the term ‘missional hermeneutics’ is used (see GOCN website), and added one of his own:

1. The missional framework of the biblical narrative
2. The missional purpose of the texts
3. The missional locatedness of the readers
4. The missional cost to the messenger

It was fascinating to see his approach applied to an unexpected text like Jeremiah. The question and answer session was revealing as well. I’ve been asked whether the talk will be available.  Here’s the plan…

In written form
The June issue of Encounters (out early next month), Redcliffe’s mission journal, will be on the theme of The Bible and Mission. This will include the transcribed talk plus a number of short (c. 500 words) responses from a variety of contributors from academics to mission ‘practitioners’ (forgive the crude distinction!). Papers will also represent something of the global church with writing reflecting a number of cultural contexts. Sign up to Encounters updates

As a podcast
At the same time as the Encounters issue Slipstream will be making their June podcast available. As it happens June’s featured interviewee is (you’ve guessed it!) Chris Wright. Although the theme is not on Bible and Mission as such, Slipstream have kindly agreed to make the lecture available as an ‘extra’. Sign up to Slipstream updates

A few other observations about the evening…

It was packed! To my knowledge this was the most popular public lecture we have had at the College.

The subject of Bible and Mission is of interest both to the local Church and to mission agencies, both of whom were well represented.

Events are stronger if put on in partnership. Bible Society, Wycliffe UK, Keswick Ministries, Global Connections and Slipstream all played a valued part. Even the refreshments were a collaborative effort, thanks to Ethical Addictions!

Chris Wright Bible and Mission Redcliffe Lecture details

I previously wrote that Revd Dr Chris Wright will be giving this year’s Redcliffe Lecture in World Christianity on the theme of The Bible and Mission. We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from all those we’ve spoken to about the event and are delighted to be putting it on in partnership with Bible Society, Wycliffe UK, Keswick Ministries, Global Connections, and Slipstream. It will also form the basis for the September issue of Encounters Mission Ezine. Hope to see you there!

Here are the details, which you can also find on the Redcliffe website:

Redcliffe Lecture in World Christianity:
The Bible and Mission

With Revd Dr Christopher Wright, International Director, Langham Partnership International

Tuesday 12 May 2009
7.00pm to 9.00pm

In partnership with Bible Society, Wycliffe UK, Keswick Ministries, Global Connections, and Slipstream.

The renowned Bible and mission scholar, Revd Dr Chris Wright, will deliver this year’s Redcliffe Lecture in World Christianity, looking at the relationship between the Bible and Mission.

Christians often talk about a ‘Biblical basis for mission’, citing key verses such as Matthew 28:19 (‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…’, NIV). But is there more to it than this? How does mission fit into the whole of the Bible and how does our understanding of Scripture influence our thinking and practice of mission?

Revd Dr Wright has written and spoken on these issues for many years. Among many other plaudits his award-winning The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative has been described as the most important work of this generation on the subject. His combination of scholarship, experience, clarity and passion make him the ideal choice for this lecture.

Revd Dr Christopher Wright is International Director of Langham Partnership International and serves as chair of the Lausanne Committee’s Theology Working Group. After completing an Old Testament PhD and a spell in pastoral ministry Chris taught at Union Biblical Seminary (UBS) in Pune, India, for five years. On his return he joined the faculty at All Nations Christian College and became the Principal there in 1993. He joined Langham in 2001.

Book now
The lecture is free but pre-booking is required. To book your place, contact David Marriott.