Paul Fiddes, Baptist Theology and Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Oxford has published his first novel. Fiddes' first degree was a double first in English Language Literature and Theology. His theology has retained an interest in the novel as his books Freedom and Limit and The Promised End demonstrate.
Shaped for Service: Ministerial Formation and Virtue Ethics is a new book from Paul Goodliff (full disclosure he's my dad). It seeks to explore what is going on when we are preparing ministers for Christian ministry in the church. Where Anglicans churns half a dozen books on ministry out a year, Baptists have been reluctant or indifferent to a proper exploration of what we think ministry is and what we are doing in the period of formation/training. Building on his doctoral research published as Ministry, Sacrament and Representation, Goodliff argues that character formation is at the heart of all ministerial formation and the practices of ministry are linked to the person, spirituality and wisdom of the practitioner.
Part 1 Formation and Virtue Ethics
Formation for Ministry
History and Landscape
Virtue Ethics and Practitioners
Creation, Eschaton and the Formation and the Practice of Ministry
Great to see this new book from Tim Carter, a Baptist minister in Horsham and a New Testament scholar. He first book was on the language of sin in Paul, published as Paul and the Power of Sin (Cambridge, 2002) and based on his PhD. This new book The Forgiveness of Sins (James Clarke, 2016) explores the language of 'forgiveness of sins' as it is found in the New Testament and early church fathers. Tim is one of a very few Baptist ministers in pastoral charge of a church (see also Ed Pillar, Simon Woodman) who also continue to research and publish academically. We need more like him.
The most awaited book in Pauline scholarship is surely now Beverly Gaventa's commentary on Romans. Later this year she publishes When in Romans: An Invitation to the Linger with the Gospel According to Paul, which will accompany her early Our Saint Paul and get us closer to the final commentary appearing. This new book will probably collect her essays on various texts and issues in Romans over the last few years.
Douglas A. Campbell is working on a new book, which might see the light of day before 2016 is finished. This new book is an attempt to set out Paul's theology as he reads it and in a style that will reach a wider audience than The Deliverance of God.
NT Wright never has a year off and before the end of the year he will have published The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus' Crucifixion, which sounds another addition to his 'series' of studies that include Surprised By Hope, Virtue Reborn and How God Became King.
Richard Hays, who underwent treatment for cancer last year, is scheduled to publish Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels this year. It is a sequel of sorts to Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul and is the fuller version of the shorter Reading Backwards that came out in 2014.
Outside of biblical scholarship, fans of Rowan Williams will be able to enjoy a collection of essays On Augustine, although I'm more interested in Being Disciples, a sequel to his excellent Being Christian.
As the likes of Sarah Coakley and Katherine Sonderegger are working on systematic theologies (first volumes already out), Graham Ward publishes How the Light Gets in: Ethical Life (Oxford), which is the first in a four-volume project systematic theology.
1. The Work of Theology by Stanley Hauerwas (Eerdmans) - latest collection of essays; topics to include humour, writing theology, the Holy Spirit and a response to Nick Healy's critical introduction
2. The Nazareth Manifesto by Sam Wells (Wiley-Blackwell) - Wells on community engagement, justice and poverty and the importance of being with.
3. A Free Corrector: Colin Gunton and the Legacy of Augustine by Joshua McNall (Fortress) - great to see another book on Gunton's theology to join work by David Hohne, Bradley Green, William B. Whitney, Hans Schaeffer and Lincoln Harvey.
4. Lila by Marilynne Robinson (I know this is already out, but waiting for ppb)
5. Into Your Hand: Confronting Good Friday by Walter Brueggemann (Cascade) - This is Brueggemann on the seven words from the cross, which will be a good addition to ones on my shelf by Hauerwas, Seitz, Rutledge, Willimon and Radcliffe
6. Blue Labour edited by Ian Geary and Adrian Pabst (I. B. Tauris) - with essays by Luke Bretherton and Maurice Glasman and a number of Labour MPs
7. The Crucifixion by Fleming Rutledge (Eerdmans)
8. Paul and the Gift by John Barclay (Eerdmans)
9. The State of Believing by Pete Ward (Fortress)
10. Sharing Friendship by John B. Thompson (Ashgate)
1. Stations of the Heart - The year began by reading Richard Lischer's account of his son Adam's dying. A powerful and challenging read.
2. Born of a Virgin? - This is an excellent detailed exploration by Andrew Lincoln, Professor of New Testament at the University of Gloucester, on the question of whether the New Testament affirms a doctrine of the virgin birth and whether it is a necessary doctrine.
2. Honey From the Lion - The referundum on Scottish independence dominated 2014, in Scotland at least, the rest of the UK only took notice during the last four weeks, which probably says a lot about the Scottish-English relationship. Honey From the Lion was Doug Gay's well-timed engagement with the question of the ethics of nationalism. Gay argues for the possibility of an ethical nationalism and came out in favour of Scottish independence. This was a book on how political theology should be written.
3. Beyond Old and New Perspectives - A collection of essays edited by Chris Tilling responding to Douglas Campbell's The Deliverance of God, plus responses to the responses from Douglas himself. The soul of Pauline theology is currently a battle between Douglas and Tom (Wright) - see there recent public conversation at Duke here. Beyond Old and New is a great introduction to Douglas' work.
4. A Brief Theology of Sport - Lincoln Harvey's book was brief, almost too brief, but made a great argument for sport theologically, rooting it in the doctrine of creation. Sport and theology have rarely be brought together, at least favourably, and so Harvey's book is a welcome introduction to how a Christian theologian can be an Arsenal season-ticket holder.
5. Hauerwas: A (Very) Critical Introduction - If Harvey's book is brief, this critical introduction to Hauerwas by Nicholas Healy is equally brief (160 pages). It is certainly provocative as Healy labels Hauerwas as another Schleiermacher, although fans of Hauerwas will probably not be too worried, although John Webster thinks Healy has Hauerwas on the ropes.
6. Ten by John Pritchard - this is a simply conceived book. It is a collection of ten things to say about a variety of topics that concern the Christian faith - why believe in God, relationship to science, key beliefs about Jesus, cliches to avoid. Pritchard, whose just retired as Bishop of Oxford, has yet again written an excellent little and very readable book that helpfully thinks about Christianity.
7. Baptists and the Communion of Saints - Paul Fiddes, Brian Haymes and Richard Kidd have work together on this book (2 chapters each), exploring how Baptists can and should understand and live in light of the doctrine of the communion of the saints. This has never been a big doctrine in the church, and even more so amongst Baptists, so much to enjoy, question, and reflect on.
8. Dominion - This was the major novel I read over the summer. C. J. Samson is the author of a gripping story that explores what might happened if Churchill had not become Prime Minister in 1940 and Great Britain had made peace with Hitler.
8. Contesting Catholicity - Curtis Freeman gives a tour de force in arguing to both Baptist and non-Baptists of the treasures in Baptist theology that sit them within the wider catholic tradition, at the same time, offering something of what it is to be church that cannot be ignored.
9. The State of Africa - I read this account of the continent of Africa since the 1960s by Martin Meredith during Advent. It left me clinging to the two advent prayers of 'how long?' and 'your kingdom come' as I read about the horrific actions of various colonial and cold war powers as well as a terrible collection of African despots.
It's brilliant. In resembles The Nail as it offers a series of monologues from different characters in the story. However rather than telling the story from beginning to end, he tells it from the end to the beginning, beginning with Anna in the temple (Luke 2), and the journeying backwards through Rachel (a mother who has lost a child to Herod's massacre), Herod, Casper, David (a shepherd), Martha (innkeeper), Joseph, Elizabeth, Mary and back further to Isaiah and finally Moses. Cottrell's inspiration comes from a painting by Albert Herbert, pictured on the front cover called Nativity With the Burning Bush.
Cottrell's imaginative imagining of each character's feelings and choices pushes the traditional story in new directions. Particularly powerful are the chapters on Anna, Rachel, Martha, Elizabeth and Mary - the grief and pain, the conviction and faith.
I used edited selections for our Carols by Candlelight service. It's probably too late to read this book now in Advent, but would make a great read for the 12 days of Christmas, or to wait until next year.
Picking up again this Sunday after a break for Lent and Easter* a series on the Apostles' Creed. About a year ago a fellow Baptist minister was a doing a similar series and all I could recommend was Van Harn, Exploring and Proclaiming the Apostle's Creed. Having started my own series, have found lots of excellent books. I list below 12, one for each apostle!