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.


Biblefresh is an exciting new initiative that is just being launched around the UK to encourage Bible reading and engagement. Here’s some info about it from the EA/Slipstream website

What is Biblefresh?
Biblefresh is a joint initiative which aims to encourage and inspire churches across the UK to make the most of the year 2011, empowering Christians to a deeper level of engagement with the Bible. The initiative brings together nearly a hundred agencies to raise the level of biblical literacy across the UK, through the following four tracks:

1. Bible reading

According to recent research only 1 in 7 Christians are likely to read the Bible outside of a church meeting. Making use of developments in digital technology and creative publishing, this track seeks to inspire Christians to read the Bible afresh, individually, in groups and as whole churches. Watch out for the Biblefresh handbook, packed full of creative suggestions and inspirational material arriving in May 2010.

2. Bible training

Our research tells us that only half of church leaders are confident in their Bible knowledge. Forty percent of Christians even feel undermined in their confidence in Scripture particularly after the recent militant atheism onslaught. Many Christianswho teach the Bible, such as Sunday school teachers and house-group leaders, have received no training in interpreting and applying the Bible. This Biblefresh track aims to equip Christians with improved Bible handling skills. Initiatives include:

– opportunities to learn at the major Christian festivals including: Keswick, Soul Survivor, Spring Harvest, CRE

– special courses and seminars at Bible colleges, churches and institutes around the UK

3. Bible translation

With over 200 million people without the Scriptures in their own language and 2393 language groups yet to have their own Bible, Biblefresh will be asking churches during 2011 to give financial support to a translation project facilitated jointly by Bible Society and Wycliffe Bible Translators, enabling more people worldwide to access the Bible. However we also recognise that the Bible is ‘foreign’ to many people in our own communities. This track also seeks to make the Bible more accessible to those outside the church.

4. Bible experiences

This track seeks to provide fresh experiences of the Bible to draw people back to reading and living it. Through the arts; particularly film, music and painting this track seeks to whet the appetite for biblical engagement. During 2011 the Biblefresh tour and resources will highlight some of the ways this can be achieved by local churches.

Download the Biblefresh Leaders Guide for more helpful information.

Technology and mission

Today’s post is my contribution to Slipstream’s ‘DigiMission Synchro-blog’. It’s tied in to a DigiMission day that is taking place on 1 December, about which you can find more information on Slipstream’s website.

Mission in a digital age is a complex and exciting business and I’m pleased to say that the forthcoming December edition of Encounters Mission journal will revolve around the theme of ‘Technology and Mission’. I am co-editing the issue with Mike Frith of the excellent OSCAR, the online UK information service for world mission.

Some of the issues contributors will be covering include:

The impact of IT on mission and the impact of mission on IT
Reflections on 10 years of OSCAR
Mission-related blogs
Using video in mission
Internet evangelism
A case study of a mission agency and its missionaries using New Media

 It should be out in the first week of December, so watch this space. Encounters is freely available and you can subscribe to updates by clicking on the link above. It’s great that Encounters, Slipstream and many others are engaging with these issues. Let’s keep up the conversation.

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!

Mission, the resurrection and HIV AIDS

Today’s post is a contribution to Slipstream’s synchronised blogging day. Slipstream is part of the Evangelical Alliance and “exists to network, equip and grow leaders across the generations”. They asked bloggers to post an entry on the resurrection on Maundy Thursday.

In my recent post Human trafficking and mission I asked how we might connect certain texts in the Old Testament with the issue of contemporary slavery and trafficking. Today I want to highlight one aspect of the importance of the resurrection in relation to the global shadow of HIV/AIDS. In his The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative, Chris Wright offers the following comments, which are well worth reflecting upon:

Only the gospel offers and proclaims the promise of a new humanity to those whose present humanity has been shattered and shredded by this virus.

I say “only the gospel” with a double intention. First, because this essential gospel promise of eternal life for all who believe, founded on the cross and resurrection of Christ, is nonnegotiable and cannot be substituted for or sublimated into any of the other responses that we must make to HIV/AIDS, all of which have their own equally nonnegotiable validity and Christian interpretation. But secondly, I say only the Christian gospel, as distinct from all other religions and their view of death. For actually, it is the stark fact of death that throws up and defines most clearly the chasmic divide between religions and between the myriad views of what salvation might mean…

a missiology that omits the only ultimate answer to death from the range of responses to those in the grip of death has no claim to a Christian name either. (pp. 440-441, emphasis in bold is mine)

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.