Anabaptist Studies

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Reading the Bible after Christendom

The manuscript has now been edited and I am waiting for the final proofs from the publishers. The great news is that it has a glowing foreward by Walter Brueggemann. I am hoping it will be published in the autumn of 2010.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bristol Peace Church Update

Bristol Peace Church has met regularly throughout this year and we continue to use the four weekly cycle of Sunday Anabaptist liturgy. We combine this with bible study taken from the Mennonite Adult Bible Study readings so that we are studying the same passage each week as our friends in North America.

The group has grown from four to six with at least one other joining us in the New Year. We have enquiries from time to time from those who have heard of us either through this blog or through the main Peace Church website (see the link on the right).

You would be welcome to join us at any time. We meet from 5.00 pm to 6.30 pm and then have a meal together during which we break bread using an ancient liturgy. As the venue changes from week to week please email me or post on this site if you'd like further information.


This blog reopened!

It seems that this site is still getting a number of hits every week and, for some reason, I cannot access my new blog site from my new computer so I have decided to reopen this site.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My blog has moved!

My blog can now be found at See you there!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bristol Peace Church recommences

After a long period of inactivity Bristol Peace Church is reconvening as an experiment in being an intentional community. A (very) small group will be gathering weekly commencing on Sunday 19th November at 5.00 pm. We will be using the Anabaptist prayer book, Take Our Moments and Our Days as our liturgical resource with readings taken from The Revised Common Lectionary (Abingdon Press, 1992). Our weekly bible studies will be based on the passages in the Mennonite Bulletin Series. It is our intention to finish our weekly sessions with a simple meal during which we will share bread and wine together. If you are interested in joining us please contact me.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Proposal for Reading the Bible After Christendom

I am breathing a sigh of relief as yesterday I submitted a revised proposal for the book together with the introductory chapter. I had submitted a proposal some time ago but grew increasingly unhappy with the proposed outline. I am much happier with the revised version!

On pages 293-300 of Post-Christendom Stuart Murray outlines ways in which the Bible can be used as a resource for post-Christendom. He suggests that there are three primary moves that need to be made in reading the Bible in this fresh environment. The first is that Christendom hermeneutics needs to be disavowed. This involves employing a hermeneutic of suspicion which critically scrutinises long established readings of Scripture. The second is to employ fresh angles of vision with which to approach biblical texts. Finally, a hermeneutic of retrieval is employed so that biblical texts can be read in ways which resonate with our changing context. I am using this three-fold schema as the outline for the book.

After a brief examination of how the Bible was read before Christendom emerged I shall turn to highlighting in subsequent chapters how Christendom readings served to reinforce patriarchy, the ecclesiastical status quo and the interests of the politically and economically powerful respectively. In the second part I shall outline various angles of vision from which to approach the biblical texts. My central thesis is that the Bible needs to be read in the light of characteristics we find in Jesus as revealed in the Gospels. The first of these is prophetic emphasising both the need for a sustained vision of shalom and the consequent call to social justice. The second of these is poetic emphasising the Bible's elusive and subversive character. The third is the pastoral perspective which will focus on the biblical call to discipleship. In the final chapter in this section I shall argue that we need a plurality of perspectives to do justice to the complexity of the Bible. In the third part I will apply these perspectives to various biblical genres and themes as follows:

  • Creation - beginning with Genesis and ending with Revelation I shall emphasise the ecological dimension
  • Covenant - rooted in Torah and reinforced in the Prophets I shall emphasise the biblical vision of community in shalom
  • Texts of Terror - in this chapter I shall look at some of the ethically difficult biblical passages
  • Exile - here I shall examine ways in which Israel's experience of exile provides resources for the church on the margins
  • Gospel - here I return to my central thesis concerning the centrality of the gospels
  • Epistle - a fresh look at Paul using the angles of vision outlined in Part Two.
  • Apocalypse - reading Revelation after Christendom
In my concluding chapter I shall summarise what has gone before under the following headings:

  • Reading from the margins
  • Reading in community
  • The Bible as prophetic
  • The Bible as subversive
  • The Bible as sustaining
I hope this whets your appetite for the book. I had better get on with writing it now! Any comments either here or over at the Post-Christendom website will be very much appreciated.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Anabaptist Prayer Book

There is an excellent prayer book on a four-weekly cycle with prayers for both morning and evening (apart from Sunday). It is available here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Reading the Bible After Christendom

This is the title of my book in the After Christendom series.

If you have anything to say about this subject please head over to the Post Christendom website and add your comments to the discussion board there.

Non-Violent Discipleship: The Challenge of the Anabaptists

This is the title of a new undergraduate course that I am teaching at the University of Bristol this term. I have had some valuable input from Stuart Murray, Alan Kreider and Willard Swartley. Here are the contents of this ten week course:

Week 1

Introduction to 16th century Anabaptists and modern Anabaptist expressions including spirituality and worship

Week 2

The Context: An analysis of the political, socio-economic and religious contexts in which Anabaptism emerged and an investigation into why voluntary, believers’ baptism was considered a capital offence against the state

Week 3

Shalom: An exploration of Anabaptist understandings of peace and radical non-violence

Week 4

Community: Anabaptist ecclesiology and the significance of church discipline

Week 5

The Bible: Anabaptist biblical interpretation

Week 6

Economics: Anabaptist approaches to the community of goods

Week 7

The Sword and the Oath: Anabaptist perspectives on political engagement

Week 8

Eschatology: Lessons from Münster

Week 9

John Howard Yoder: An introduction to his writings

Week 10

Thomas N. Finger: An Anabaptist systematic theologian