Come and study Bible and Mission with us at Redcliffe College

Redcliffe's MA in Bible and Mission enables students to explore mission in the Bible and the Bible in mission thinking and practice.

So today I thought I’d go for some subliminal advertising ūüėČ

Joking aside, we love our MA in Bible and Mission because it gives students an opportunity to dig deep roots into the missional nature of the Bible, reflecting on mission in the Bible and the Bible in mission. Compulsory modules include: Method and content in missiological study;¬†Reading the Bible missionally; and¬†Bible engagement in intercultural contexts. You then get to choose an optional module from some of Redcliffe’s other MA programmes, which may concentrate on a particular context or theme in mission. These might include:¬†The mission of the Church in the context of post-colonialism and globalisation;¬†Crucial issues in Asian mission and theology;¬†Crucial Issues in European mission and theology;¬†An introduction to global leadership;¬†Theology of religions;¬†Just¬†mission ‚Äď justice issues in intercultural contexts.

Students come for a variety of reasons and from a variety of backgrounds. It’s a privilege to lead and teach on the course. Not only do I get to share my passion and learning from my PhD research on missional hermeneutics, but I also get to work with some very talented colleagues who teach on the programme, both from within the faculty at Redcliffe, but also from partner organisations such as Wycliffe Bible Translators and Bible Society. Each student brings something unique to the group and whether they go on to mission training, Bible teaching, organisational roles, local church work, student ministry, etc, etc, it’s a genuine privilege to see how they take and apply what they have been learning.

If you are interested to know more, why not visit the MA in Bible and Mission¬†page on Redcliffe’s website or drop me a line at

Reading the Bible missionally – getting into the authors – part 2

I recently posted about the module, ‘Reading the Bible Missionally’ on Redcliffe’s¬†MA in Bible and Mission¬†programme and how we are seeking to complement our reading of Chris Wright’s¬†The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative¬†by engaging with six other key authors on missional hermeneutics. I then gave links for three of them: Michael Goheen, Richard Bauckham and Dan Beeby to give a flavour of their writing (you can read that blog post here:¬†Reading the Bible missionally – getting into the authors – part 1).

The other three writers we have been dealing with are Michael Barram, James Brownson and Darrell Guder. Here are some samples of their work:

Barram, M. ‚Äė‚ÄėLocated‚Äô Questions for a Missional Hermeneutic‘, unpublished paper on GOCN website.

Brownson, J.V. Speaking the Truth in Love: New Testament Resources for a Missional Hermeneutic (Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 1998).

Guder, D. ‚ÄėMissional Hermeneutics: The Missional Authority of Scripture‚Äė,¬†Mission Focus, Annual Review, 15 (2007), 106-121.

You can find more links to writing on missional hermeneutics and more general studies on the Bible and mission in our Bible and Mission books and articles page.

Reading the Bible missionally – getting into the authors – part 1

The ‘Reading the Bible Missionally’ module on Redcliffe’s MA in Bible and Mission is now in full swing. Having surveyed the development of the approach, we have discussed George Hunsberger’s article ,¬†‚ÄôProposals for a Missional Hermeneutic: Mapping a Conversation‚Äė. We then spent last week getting to grips with Chris Wright’s methodology, as laid out in part one of his¬†The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. In later sessions we will follow the structure of Wright’s book as we unpack what a missional reading of the Bible will look like. However, it will be important for us to be drawing our discussions from a wider context and so this week and next students are coming prepared to present on and chew over the work of six other writers in the field of missional hermeneutics.

This week will be the turn of Michael Goheen, Richard Bauckham and Dan Beeby. As a sampler of what we are reading here is a link for each of them of articles or previews freely available on the web:

Goheen, M.W.¬†‚ÄėContinuing Steps Towards a Missional Hermeneutic‚Äô,¬†Fideles, Volume 3 (2008), pp.49-99.

Bauckham, R. ‚ÄėMission as Hermeneutic for Scriptural Interpretation‚Äė,¬†Currents in World Christianity Position Paper, Number 106 (1999).

Beeby, H.D. Canon and Mission (Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 1999).

Missional hermeneutics reading part 1

Today we had the first two sessions of the Reading the Bible Missionally module on Redcliffe’s MA in Bible and Mission. The course itself takes its structure from Chris Wright’s The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. By the end of the course we have read the whole thing. But fantastic though Wright’s book is, it is also important for students to have a good grasp of other writers in the field.

So today we had an introduction to the development and legitimacy of a missional hermeneutic, alongside discussions of the methodologies of Chris Wright and Richard Bauckham.

To get a flavour of some of the literature have a look at this microsite’s Bible and Mission books and articles page. In the meantime, here is a selection of the things we’ve been looking at today:

Bauckham, R. ‚ÄėMission as Hermeneutic for Scriptural Interpretation‚Äė,¬†Currents in World Christianity Position Paper, Number 106 (1999).

Bauckham, R. The Bible and Mission: Christian Witness in a Postmodern World (Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 2004).

Goheen, M.W.¬†¬†‚ÄėA Critical Examination of David Bosch‚Äôs Missional Reading of Luke‚Äô¬†in C.G. Bartholomew, J.B. Green and A.C. Thiselton (eds.),¬†Reading Luke: Interpretation, Reflection, Formation¬†(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), pp.229-264.

Hunsberger, G.¬†‘Proposals for a Missional Hermeneutic: Mapping a Conversation‘,¬†Gospel and Our Culture Newsletter eSeries, 2 (January 2009). Subsequently published as¬†G. ‘Proposals for a Missional Hermeneutic: Mapping a Conversation’,¬†Missiology, 39:3 (July 2011).

Wright, C.J.H. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 2006).

Wright, C.J.H. Truth with a Mission: Reading All Scripture Missiologically, Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, 15.2 (2011), pp.4-15.

Tomorrow we turn our attention to Dan Beeby, James Brownson, Michael Goheen and Darrell Guder.

Free access to reviews of Chris Wright’s The Mission of God

Chris Wright's The Mission of GodI’ve noticed in the last few days that we have had a lot of hits on a post a I wrote back in February giving links for reviews of Chris Wright’s 2006 work, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Grand Narrative of Scripture.

All the links given there are for freely available, online reviews of the book.

I am inferring from this recent trend that a lot of classes in Bible Colleges, seminaries and other training programmes are starting around now and they have Wright’s important book on the curriculum. This is great news!

While there is a growing body of literature on the missional interpretation (see our Bible and Mission resources section for details), Wright’s The Mission of God¬†is still, I think, the most significant work on the subject and, as such, is essential reading. It is on the reading lists for undergrads and postgrads at Redcliffe and is a core text in the ‘Reading the Bible Missionally’ module on our MA in Bible and Mission programme (indeed we read it cover to cover, alongside other important works).

So, if you are reading The Mission of God in a class this year, whether here at Redcliffe or anywhere else in the world, may you be informed, inspired and changed as a result. May you be more encouraged and engaged in your participation in the mission of God.

P.S. I’d love to know what type of courses are using Wright’s book in different places. Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Free access to Richard Bauckham on Mission as Hermeneutic for Scriptural Interpretation

Noted New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham has written two important works on the Bible and Mission. The most developed is his 2003 book¬†Bible and Mission: Christian Witness in a Postmodern World, which I posted about last week: Mission by way of the least in Luke. But prior to this he wrote a short essay entitled ‘Mission as Hermeneutic for Scriptural Interpretation‘, which he has made available on his website, along with a number of other Accessible lectures and essays.

The 1999 essay was presented in Cambridge as a¬†Currents in World Christianity Position Paper. There are some very interesting points, which he expands on in the later book. I ask my students on the Reading the Bible Missionally module of Redcliffe’s MA in Bible and Mission to read both. At some points he differs from people such as Chris Wright, though at others he compliments them well.

Here are a couple of quotes to give you a flavour:

The title that was suggested to me for this lecture could be read in at least two ways, which are certainly not mutually exclusive. One could take it to mean that the church’s practice of mission is a form of scriptural interpretation. The Bible is the sort of text that calls for interpretation not only by means of more text but also by the practice of what it preaches. Could anyone really understand what it means to love enemies without doing it, or at least seeing it done? That the church’s mission in and to the world is the practice of the biblical text in which the text is constantly being interpreted is important, and we shall return to it at the end of the lecture. But it depends, I think, on the other possible meaning of my title. In this case the title refers to a missionary hermeneutic of Scripture,¬†in other words a way of reading the Bible for which mission is the hermeneutical key, much as, for example, liberation is the hermeneutical key for the way of reading the Bible that liberation theology advocates. A missionary hermeneutic of this kind would not be simply a study of the theme of mission in the biblical writings, but a way of reading the whole of Scripture with mission as its central interest and goal. Of course, such a missionary hermeneutic could and should only be one way of reading Scripture among others, since mission itself is not the comprehensive subject of the whole Bible. But a missionary hermeneutic would be a way of reading Scripture which sought to understand what the church’s mission really is in the world as Scripture depicts it and thereby to inspire and to inform the church’s missionary praxis. Such a hermeneutic that reads the Bible with a view to mission should properly be developed in reciprocal relationship with the practice of mission as itself a practice of interpreting Scripture…

The biblical particularity of God’s own narrative identity is non-negotiable. But the effect of its encounter with other narratives is not uniform or predictable since they each have their own particularity. This is where the element of contextualization in a missionary hermeneutic is required. It is also the point at which missionary praxis turns out to be itself a necessary part of a missionary hermeneutic.

Mission MA module intensives at Redcliffe College this year

Redcliffe College MA programmesRedcliffe’s MA in Bible and Mission is one of a number of postgraduate Master’s degrees we are running here at the college. We also have programmes in:

MA in Global Leadership in Intercultural Contexts
MA in Global Issues in Contemporary Mission
MA in Intercultural Studies in Asian Contexts
MA in European Mission and Intercultural Christianity
MA in Member Care
MA in Sport and Christian Outreach (in conjunction with the University of Gloucestershire)

The modules for these MAs are taught in intensive bursts throughout the year. To give you a flavour of what’s on offer, here is a list of planned dates and modules. Check out the links on each course above to see which modules are available on which programmes.

7-10 Oct and 9-12 Dec 2011
Method and content in missiological study

18-20 Oct and 15-17 Nov 2011
Reading the Bible missionally
An introduction to global leadership
Intercultural Christianity and the European Regions
The greening of mission

7-9 Feb and 20-22 March 2012
Theology of religions
Prosperity theology and suffering
Organisational development and cultural change
Just mission ‚Äď justice issues in intercultural contexts (subject to validation by University of Gloucestershire)

2-5 Mar and 11-14 May 2012
The mission of the Church in the context of post-colonialism and globalisation
Crucial Issues in European mission and theology
Crucial issues in Asian mission and theology

30 April – 18 May 2012 (Summer school)
Bible engagement in intercultural contexts
Method and content in missiological study
The greening of mission
Crucial Issues in European mission and theology
Crucial issues in Asian mission and theology
The mission worker as a person: Building life-skills and interpersonal skills
The member care worker: Equipping self and others

The Gospel Among the Nations

This is the title of a forthcoming book I came across today, which will be published at the end of June. The Gospel Among the Nations: A Documentary History of Inculturation by Robert A. Hunt looks like it will be a very helpful reference work for those thinking through the crucial issue of how Christians might engage cross-culturally with the Gospel. Obviously I’ve not had a chance to read the book yet but I imagine¬†it is likely to¬†make its way onto the bibliography of the ‘Bible Engagement in Intercultural Contexts’ module of our new MA in Bible and Mission.

Here’s the publisher blurb:

Offers the most comprehensive collection available of original texts illustrating how Christians throughout the ages have struggled to inculturate the gospel.

The Gospel Among the Nations brings together in a single volume the most important primary documents illustrating how Christians have dealt with the most fundamental issue of the church‚Äôs mission: how to translate the gospel in new cultural settings.The texts range from Pope Gregory’s famous instructions to Augustine of Canterbury on his mission to England, to W. E. Hocking’s fateful “Attitudes toward People of Other Faiths.”

Beginning with a masterful introduction to the theme, Robert Hunt assembles scores of texts that reveal the way that missionaries, church leaders, and local Christians have contributed to the extension of Christianity over two millennia, and thus made it truly a world religion. The Gospel Among the Nations is an essential resource for students, researchers and practitioners in world Christian history and mission studies.

Robert A. Hunt is director of global theological education at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas,Texas. He is a past president of the Association of Professors of Mission and a member of the American Society of Missiology’s Renewal and Strategic Planning task force.

Redcliffe College launches new MA in Bible and Mission

I’m really excited to announce a new postgraduate MA in Bible and Mission that is being launched at Redcliffe College, ready for September 2010. This has been one of my projects over the last couple of years and it is now going through the validation process with the University of Gloucestershire.

I’ve reproduced the MA in Bible and Mission course page from Redcliffe’s website below. A few¬†aspects are worth highlighting. Firstly, the course is being developed in partnership with mission agencies. Among them, Wycliffe Bible Translators and Bible Society have been particularly involved. Secondly, the course will seek to bridge missiology and Biblical studies in an integrated way. Thirdly, it aims to help students reflect on the Bible missionally, and mission biblically. There will be¬†a key emphasis on missional hermeneutics and it also reflects¬†on the¬†Bible as a tool of mission as well as a record and phenomenon of mission.

Any comments or questions? Leave a comment below…

With the increasing complexity of the Church’s mission in the world, clear and deep biblical reflection is essential. Not only should God’s people have a firm grasp of how mission fits into the Scriptures, we should also be confident and competent in using the Bible to engage missionally in a variety of cultural contexts.

Redcliffe’s MA in Bible and Mission enables students to explore mission in the Bible and the Bible in mission thinking and practice. It is being developed in partnership with various agencies including Wycliffe Bible Translators and Bible Society, both of whom will also be involved in the ongoing content of the course.

Students complete three required modules and choose one further module.

Method and Content in Missiological Study: Develop your competence in research methods at postgraduate level and gain an overview of Missiology.

Reading the Bible Missionally: Enhance your understanding of the Bible and mission by applying a ‘missional hermeneutic’ to the Scriptures.

Bible Engagement in Intercultural Contexts: Explore and evaluate different approaches to using the Bible in different cultural contexts, both in the ‘West’ and in the majority world.

Optional choice modules may include:
The Mission of the Church in the Context of Post-colonialism and Globalisation;
Crucial Issues in Asian Mission and Theology;
Crucial Issues in European Mission and Theology;
An Introduction to Global Leadership;
The Greening of Mission.

Studying part time over two years…
Studying the MA part time allows you to study exactly the same curriculum as the full time qualification. The compulsory modules are studied during the first year. The second year includes the optional modules and completion of the dissertation.

Studying the ‘flexible learning mode’ option…
This distance learning style course is ideal for mission practitioners working overseas or on home assignment, international students, and those who are unable to spend an extended period of time away from the workplace or home.

Visit Flexible Learning Mode MA to discover more.

So What Next?
We hope you have found this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

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