Encounters mission journal issue on The Psalms and Mission

The latest edition of Redcliffe’s free, online journal, ‘Encounters’, is on the theme of The Psalms and Mission. It was edited by myself and features a range of articles on the relationship between the Psalter and mission.

Here’s my introduction and the contents:

12 May 2010 saw the public launch of the Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission, a new Redcliffe College initiative aiming 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.

In my editorial I outline the activities of the Centre in more detail, one of which is to produce an annual issue of Encounters on a Bible and mission theme. This current edition focuses on The Psalms and Mission. The launch event also included Redcliffe’s 2010 Annual Lecture in Bible and Mission, delivered by Prof. Gordon Wenham on the theme of ‘The Nations in the Psalms’. The lecture is provided in full along with responses from myself, Eddie Arthur (Wycliffe Bible Translators) and David Spriggs (Bible Society).

Brian Russell and Tony Hughes outline missional readings of particular psalms, and a Redcliffe student offers a fascinating vision for the use of psalms of lament in order to help prevent missionary attrition. Finally, with kind permission from the author and Paternoster Press, we have included Ian Stackhouse’s chapter on Praying the Psalms from his book, The Day is Yours: Slow Spirituality in a Fast-Moving World.

I trust you will enjoy this edition of Encounters. Please read, reflect and join in the conversation.

Tim

Tim Davy teaches Biblical Studies and is Director of the Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission at Redcliffe College. He writes the Bible and Mission blog and also edited issues 17 and 29 of Encounters on the themes of Mission and the Old Testament and The Bible and Mission.

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Editorial:  The Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission. (Tim Davy, 761 words)

Article 1:  The Nations in the Psalms. (Prof Gordon Wenham, 5513 words

Article 2:  The Nations in the Psalms and the Psalms in the Nations – a response. (Tim Davy, 912 words)

Article 3:  Psalms 1-2 as an Introduction to Reading the Psalms Missionally. (Dr Brian Russell, 2083 words)

Article 4:  Reflections on the Nations in the Psalms. (Eddie Arthur, 485 words)

Article 5:  The Nations in Isaiah 40-55. (Rev Dr David Spriggs, 1218 words)

Article 6:  Missionary Attrition and the Psalms of Lament. (Name withheld, 1041 words)

Article 7:  A Missional Reading of Psalm 47. (Tony Hughes, 1664 words)

Article 8:  Praying the Psalms. (Rev Dr Ian Stackhouse, 2598 words)

Book Review 1:  Transformation after Lausanne: Radical Evangelical Mission in Global-local Perspective. (by Al Tizon; Regnum Books)

Book Review 2:  Understanding and Using the Bible. (edited by Christopher J.H. Wright and Jonathan Lamb; SPCK)

The url for the issue is http://www.redcliffe.org/psalmsandmission

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.” 

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.

Old Testament and the Environment

One of the modules available on Redcliffe’s MA in Global Issues in Contemporary Mission is ‘The Greening of Mission’. Today I joined the class to look at some material on creation and the environment in the Old Testament.

I gave them three pieces of preparatory reading:

1. Read ch.4 of C.J.H. Wright’s Old Testament Ethics for the People of God (Leicester: IVP, 2004);

2. Read Gordon Wenham’s article, The Bible and the Environment, which is available on the John Ray Initiative website;

3. Have a look at the Old Testament and Ecology blog. This is one I’ve recently discovered, which is written by a Justin Allison, a PhD student in Old Testament based in the States.

Here’s a quote from Wenham’s article:

Two terms are used in Genesis to describe man’s management function vis-a-vis the rest of creation. He is told to ‘have dominion’ (Hebrew radah) over other living creatures, fish, birds, cattle and creeping things and to ‘subdue’ (kabash) the earth. ‘Have dominion’ is quite a positive term for ruling. Whereas many people today have an anarchist streak, or at least an antipathy to those in authority, that was not the official outlook of the ancient Near East, who saw kings as essentially benevolent and concerned with their subjects’ welfare. Psalm 72 puts this message powerfully:

Give the king thy justice, O God,
May he judge thy people with righteousness
and thy poor with justice!
Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness!
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor!
(Psalm 72: 1-3)

To ‘have dominion’ means to be in charge of something, e.g. workers (1 Kings 4: 24; 9: 23). To be sure some people may abuse their authority and exercise power harshly (Leviticus 25: 43), but that is clearly not the intention here. Man is created in God’s image, and so as his representative is expected to act in a Godlike way, and God throughout Genesis 1 and 2 is portrayed as a thoroughly creation-friendly deity.