God After Christendom book presentation

GodAC_02Friday 13 November: 7.30–9.00 pm
Didsbury Baptist Church
Presents

God After Christendom?
by Brian Haymes and
Kyle Gingerich Hiebert

Contributions from
Brian Haymes
and
Kyle Gingerich Hiebert
(by videolink)

Reflection by
Prof. Jon Hoover
(University of Nottingham)

Bookstall provided by St Denys Bookshop, Manchester

Refreshments available from 6.45pm

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Book Launch – 4 June

PrintJoin us at DBC to celebrate the launch of Peter Oakes’s book, which seeks to explain Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

Drinks and nibbles. Brief, friendly introduction to the book.

Book stall of Christian books by St Denys’ Bookshop.

All are welcome. Thursday 4 June 7:30-9:00 pm.

Baptists and the Communion of Saints

saintsbookpicWe are grateful to have Brian Haymes in membership with us at Didsbury Baptist Church. His latest book, Baptists and the Communion of Saints, co-authored with Paul Fiddes and Richard Kidd,  is now available. Baptists have not often made much of the saints so Baptists and the Communion of Saints promises to make a unique and interesting contribution. I have just received my copy and I am looking forward to reading it on my summer holiday. The book is available from the usual outlets and you can learn more about it here.

The Great Partnership – a great book

I have read many of Jonathan Sacks’s books and I enjoyed every one of them. I have just finished reading The Great Partnership: God, Science and the Search for Meaning (now available in paperback) and I loved it. In it Sacks argues that science and religion need each other. Like the left and right sides of the brain, science and religion provide different modes of engagement with the world. They are separate but complementary. ‘Science takes things apart to see how they work. Religion puts things together to see what they mean.’

Jonathan Sacks is, of course, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. He writes then from a Jewish perspective but draws on the wisdom of all three Abrahamic faiths to argue that religious faith can be held and practised by reasonable, rational people and has an important part to play in the creation and maintenance of a good society.

As a Christian, I think this book is better than most of the specifically Christian apologetic works I have read. In fact, at most of the points where Sacks offers a Jewish rather than Christian interpretation of a passage of scripture I found myself in agreement with him. His handling of the first three chapters of Genesis, for example, is brilliant. The chapter, ‘Why God?’ offers an eloquent defence not only for belief in God but also for the benefits of belonging to a community of faith. It reminded me why I became a minister in the first place. So far, this is my book of the year. I bought my copy at St Deny’s theological bookshop in Manchester but it is available everywhere and will soon be displayed prominently in our church library.

Book Presentation

On Sunday 20 February part of the morning service of Didsbury Baptist Church was given over to a surprise presentation. Friends and family joined us to present to Brian Haymes a volume of essays in his honour. Questions of Identity: studies in honour of Brian Haymes is edited by Anthony R Cross and Ruth Gouldbourne and is volume 6 in the Centre for Baptist History and Heritage Studies series.  The presentation proved to be a particularly joyful and memorable occasion.

Andy Goodliff reports on the book here and here.  Sean Winter, who has a chapter in the book and whose video message from Australia formed part of the presentation reports on it here. Simon Woodman also participated in the project and presentation and writes about it here.

Questions of Identity can be ordered from the Centre for Baptist History and Heritage here.

After the service, book contributors and friends gathered around Brian and Jenny for photographs. Here’s one of the motley crew:

Daily Bible reading

In our Sunday morning worship this week we heard Bible readings from Psalm 15, Mark 7.1–8, 14, 15, 21–23 and James 1.17–27. I based my sermon mainly on James 1 particularly verse 17: “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights . . .” and verse 22: “But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves”.

Although I hoped to emphasize doing rather than merely hearing the word, I did recommend daily Bible reading as one of the ways we might hear. Afterwards, I was asked privately about my thoughts on Bible-reading plans and notes so I decided to include a few here.

Having used many different Bible-reading notes through the years, I now find the publications from IBRA to be the most helpful. I regularly use Words for today and also see Light for our path. Available here, I recommend them both as well as the daily reading scheme on IBRA’s website. I like the fact that they contain a full year’s readings and notes so I don’t have to think about or keep receiving extra booklets every month or quarter.

The daily lectionary readings for morning and evening prayer are also very useful.  These consist of Bible readings for every morning and evening of the year. These can be accessed on the Internet either as independent sets of readings here or and as part of the Church of England’s daily prayer service here. These are excellent resources that you can bookmark for daily viewing.

Books on Revelation (5)

My fifth and final recommendation for reader-friendly books on Revelation is Michael Wilcock’s The Message of Revelation (IVP, 1991) originally published under the title I Saw Heaven Opened, 1975. wilcockI have the ’75 edition and do not know whether the ’91 edition is revised in any way. My comments here relate to the ’75 edition.

This book is now dated. It is written so obviously for  Evangelical Anglicans that if you are not one you feel a bit like you are eavesdropping. Its gender specific language is annoying. (“Nor does the scheme of divine truth, embracing time and eternity and announcing itself to men, fail of its effect . . .” [218]). Nevertheless, this is probably the most accessible commentary on the book of Revelation. It clearly influenced Peterson’s book (recommended below). It was the first, sensible, non-technical book on Revelation I ever read and it remains unsurpassed for clarity and simplicity. If you are lost with Revelation but would like to give it a chance, try reading through Revelation with Wilcock as your guide. I certainly would not have described Revelation as a “gorgeous picture book” and I don’t like the suggestion that it is the one biblical book we could do without. Yet, Wilcock’s exposition of Revelation as a drama in eight scenes is full of insight and good sense. This is still a great place to begin a study of the Bible’s final book.

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