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stevebishop (Bristol, UK)

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Evangelical Theology
Evangelical Theology
by Michael F. Bird
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 26.23

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Far superior to Grudem, 30 Nov 2013
This review is from: Evangelical Theology (Hardcover)
Gordon Spykman in his superb Reformational Theology describes the eclipse of creation in theology. He writes that much of evangelical theology:
gives the impression of bypassing creation in a hasty move to take a shortcut to the cross.
Michael Bird in his evangelical theology doesn't do that. This is refreshing in an evangelical systematic theology.

What is the single most important thing in evangelicalism? Bird maintains it is the gospel - so he has written a systematic theology that reflects that emphasis. What is the goal of theology? That we would be gospelised! But this raises the question what is the gospel? Is it the redemption of creation, the escape of Christians to heaven, or what? How does Bird view the gospel? He cites with approval Al Wolters who demonstrates that "creation regained" is an underlying theme of the gospel:
The gospel envisages a comprehensive restoration of the created order so that the relational disruption between God and creation caused by the intrusion of evil can be finally resolved. ... The gospel is umbilically connected to the wider concepts of covenant and creation.
Such an approach alone would justify the purchase of this book.

Comparison with Grudem's Systematic Theology is perhaps inevitable. For me Bird's is by far the superior book.

For Grudem the focus is on what does the Bible say, for Bird it is also the engagement with contemporary theological ideas. Though this is a strength of Bird's approach it may prove to be its weakness as it may well date it.

A look at the contents shows marked differences: Bird starts with God, Grudem with the Bible. Grudem emphasises doctrine, Bird the gospel. In comparison Grudem is lame and pedestrian. This may be in part its age. Bird is a most welcome replacement for Grudem.

Other than Spykman's sadly out of print Reformational Theology I can think of no better summary of theology.

[(Church History, Volume Two: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day: The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context)] [by: John D. Woodbridge]
[(Church History, Volume Two: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day: The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context)] [by: John D. Woodbridge]
by John D. Woodbridge
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars A mammoth book, 30 Nov 2013
This is a mammoth book: 2 authors, 22 Chapters covering 8 centuries, 16 pages of contents, 4 maps, 103 black and white illustrations in 843 pages. It covers the period from the "Babylonian Captivity of the Church" in 1309 to January 2012 when Boko Haram, a violent Islamic terrorist group, committed 54 murders.

The book has a number of goals: to provide an academically responsible engagement with the facts of history; to provide a global perspective; to be contemporary and relevant to the church today; not to avoid controversial issues, but not make final judgments; and to evaluate actions according to the cultural norms of the times but mindful that Christians affirm doctrinal and ethical standards that are culturally transcendent; and finally to be respectful of all Christian traditions.

Far too often history has been written by white men about other (usually dead) white men. How then does this book fare? It is written by two white men, but women do get a share - albeit a small one - of mentions. So, for example in the first chapter we have mentions of Birgitta of Sweden, Catherine of Sienna.The book aims to be global and it does avoid being too Euro and American-centric.

Inevitably, there is more focus on Protestantism than Roman Catholicism and on Europe and North America than Africa or Asia. But that is perhaps more a statement about the nature of history and the available documents rather than the book; until the nineteenth recently most Protestants lived in Europe, in 1900 81% of Christians were white - it is estimated that by 2015 this will be 30% - and in 1900 70% of all Christians lived in Europe and by 2025 this will be 20%. This global shift from Europe to North America and now to the Global South is certainly reflected in the later chapters of the book.

Why don't Christians study more history? One problem has been a lack of good introductory resources. Woodbridge and James have addressed the that problem, they have produced a good overview of the story of history. However, as John Fea in his Why Study History? points out "Historians are not mere storytellers. Not only do they have the responsibility of making sure that they get the story right; they are also charged with the task of analyzing and interpreting the past." Woodbridge and James are great story tellers, but at times I was wanting a little more analysis and interpretation.

Having said that though there is a brief helpful analysis of Calvin. The accusations that Calvin's emphasis on predestination led to a lack of evangelism and missionary emphasis are examined and found wanting. They point out that "Contemporary scholars generally agree that predestination was not the wellspring of Calvin's theology." And they provide evidence of church growth that supports Phillip Hughes assertion that "Calvin's Geneva was nothing less than "a school of missions ... and a dynamic centre of missionary concern and activity." (Churchman 78(4))

This is a great resource for those who want to know more about Church history. It provides enough detail in its overview to be also satisfying to undergraduates. At the end of each chapter is a "For further study" section which highlights several key books which will be helpful to those who want to take church history further.

Why Study History?: Reflecting On The Importance Of The Past
Why Study History?: Reflecting On The Importance Of The Past
by John Fea
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.31

4.0 out of 5 stars The pursuit of history as a vocation, 30 Nov 2013
What is history? Why bother studying it? John Fea has written this accessible and jargon-free book to address these questions. He helpfully focuses on "the pursuit of history as a vocation" (ix).

His aim is to provide a primer on the study of the past. Its intended audience is "Christian college students who are studying history" (ix), but it would be a shame if those were the only ones who read it.

Fea writes with wisdom and insight and provides a helpful introduction of history undergraduates and for those who would like to study history. Fea is a Professor of American history at Messiah College, he is also the author of Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?, and so it is inevitable that his illustrations draw from that country. This has the down-side of making it less accessible for those who study non-American history.

Particularly helpful was the discussion on providence and history. How are we to interpret history from a Christian perspective? Can we have a God-perspective on history? Some would claim to, Fea is more sceptical. God obviously intervenes in history, but can the historian be true to her calling and interpret events as God interventions? Fea believes in providence (p 67) but contra Steven Keillor, is sceptical about providential history. He looks at one contemporary popular providential history book, that of The Light and the Glory by Marshall and Manuel. These authors write a Christian history focused on the sovereignty of God (p 74). Fea maintains that "An appeal to providence in a historical narrative like that of the East River fog of 1776 fails to help us better understand what happened on that day, and one of the historian's primary tasks is to aid our understanding of the past" (p 78). My concern is that this could lead to the historian practicing methodological naturalism but on the other hand the danger is that providence can become what is beneficial to the one describing it. (p 81) Fea is right though when he states that we need to approach history with a "sense of God's transcendent mystery, a health does of humility, and a hope that one day soon, but not now, we will all understand the Almighty's plan for the nations" (p 81). Again to quote Fea: "historians are not in the business of studying God; they are in the business of studying humans" (p 85).

Providence, may not then be a useful tool for the historian but there are others that Fea reveals; these include: the idea that humans are created in the image of God; the reality of human sin; an incarnational approach to the past; the role of moral reflection in historical work. There is a good emphasis on the need for the historian not to preach or moralise.

As Fea states "the Christian church is in need of a history lesson". He obviously has a passion for history, and this passion comes through. He also has a very high regard for history for him history is: "a discipline ...the art of reconstructing the past .. the exciting task of interpretation" (p 3); "more about competing perceptions of the past event or life than it is about nailing down a definitive account of a specific event of life" (p 16); "a discipline that requires interpretation, imagination, and even literary or artistic style" (p 29); "the glue that holds communities and nations together" (p 37); "like being swallowed up in an immense ocean or field and losing oneself in its midst" (p 60); "essential for producing the kind of informed citizen, with the necessary virtues and skills, needed for our society to thrive" (p 116). "Doing history is not unlike the kind of `disciplines' we employ in our spiritual lives--disciplines that take the focus off of us and put it on God or others (p 132). History has the power to civilise us and to transform. Sometimes I think he overstates the case, but nevertheless he makes some excellent points.

The final chapter takes a look at what those with history degrees are doing now (adapted from here). History degrees obviously prepares people for a wide range of vocations. The epilogue is a heart-felt appeal for "historians who are willing to go into churches and listen to people" to the benefit of the historian and the church. To this end, in an appendix, he makes an appeal for a "Center for American history and a civil society". I hope it comes to fruition.

This book will help all budding historians be better historians.

Calvinism: A History
Calvinism: A History
by D G Hart
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 18.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An anglocentric (re)view, 30 Nov 2013
This review is from: Calvinism: A History (Hardcover)
It was Bishop John Aylmer in his 1559 book An Harborowe for Faithfull and Trewe Subjects who identified the English roots of the Reformation he wrote: "Wycliffe begat Hus, who begat Luther". Sadly, this Englishness of the Reformation is neglected in Hart.

Hart looks at how Calvinism has become a global faith (xii). He identifies three phases:

1. Calvinism took root in settings where church reform was tethered to efforts to establish political autonomy.
2. Calvinists adopted new models for extending their beliefs; and
3. Adjusted to the rise of secular political orders prompted by the 18th century.

Calvinism was most dominant in Switzerland, the German-speaking Palatinate, the Dutch Republic and Scotland. So, inevitably these geographical areas then have the most words. However, only a few pages are devoted to the English scene (primarily pp 35-41, 83-90). At least McNeill in his History and Character of Calvinism had a chapter on England and Ireland. David Creamans's Reception of Calvinism in England - surprisingly absent from Hart's bibliography - would fill in some of the gaps. Sadly, though, we still wait for the definitive history of Calvinism in England.

Hart's take on the English Puritans is interesting and worth further investigation. Their emphasis on personal holiness and pursuit of a "vein of introspective piety" replaced the "zeal for a thoroughly reformed church" (p 84). He claims that it was then responsible for the "unintended consequence" of a "high-church sacramental Anglican reaction" (p 85). This may well explain why Jim Packer wasn't asked to write a Foreword! Here perhaps in Puritainism are the roots of a privatisation of the gospel.

Despite the title this book is more a history of Presbyterianism than Calvinism. Perhaps Hart thinks that Presbyterianism is Calvinism? Which would explain the lack of Anglican or Baptist emphases in the book. The gaps are easy to identify - Carl Trueman has already mentioned the lack of Baptists and Steven Wedgworth has highlighted the injustice done to Anglicans. There is no mention of Henry Atherton and the Sovereign Grace Union or D. Martyn Lloyd Jones his Calvinistic Methodist roots. Despite concentrating on Presbyterianism there is no mention of the formation of the URC in 1972 from the Presbyterian Church of England and the Congregational Church in England and Wales or even Thomas Cartwright, one of the first English Presbyterians. Or if we go more up to date there is no mention of the aberration of Calvinism that is New Calvinism (perhaps justly so). Of course, to include all of these (and more) would probably mean that a separate volume would be needed for each country and that is not Hart's aim. This is intended to be global and an overview - and as such it works.

Rather that the Diet of Worms it seems the Reformation started with another diet: sausage eating (in 15522)! And this is where Hart begins his narrative. He is correct that "Reformed Christianity existed before Calvin became a Protestant, and so calling the churches to which he belonged Calvinistic is anachronistic" (p 20). The story then finishes with a look at the geography of global Calvinism in the 21st century.

Sadly, there is a lack of footnotes - and the notes are few (8 pages) - so we are left to guess where some of the information has come from. There is however, a useful "Further reading" section.

Hart concludes with: "If it is not responsible for the blessings of democracy, liberty, and prosperity, in its own way Calvinism's history qualifies as remarkable" (p 304). This book too qualifies as being remarkable in that Hart has been able to survey the complicated global history of Calvinism in less than 350 pages.

Good News to the Poor
Good News to the Poor
by Tim Chester
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The gospel and socail action, 30 Nov 2013
This review is from: Good News to the Poor (Paperback)
To rephrase Bishop Tutu "When people say that the Bible and social action don't mix, I ask them which Bible they are reading." Yet it seems that many evangelicals are reading different Bibles. Evangelical attitudes to social action have always been mixed. Some see it as a capitulation to the social gospel others as an integral part of the gospel. Chester in this introductory book helpfully examines this relationship.

The book begins by outlining four ways in which evangelicals in general have responded to the relationship and poses a number of key questions:
Is social involvement something we do as well as evangelism? Is there another way of doing evangelism? Is it a distraction or the real job of proclaiming the gospel?
Is social involvement a legitimate activity of Christians? Does it have biblical support?

The book attempts to explore these important issues. He provides a good case for evangelical social action but has some pertinent criticism too and he wants to see social action that is truly evangelical. He sees proclamation of the gospel message as being central to Christian social action and the need for social action to be shaped by the gospel. He argues that evangelism and social action are distinct but inseparable activities.

In the first chapter he looks at three biblical reasons for involvement: the character of God, the reign of God and the grace of God. He maintains that social involvement is rooted in the character of God and that "Our understanding of poverty is fundamentally related to our understanding of God". This focus on the centrality of God is to be welcomed.

One of the reasons for the lack of involvement is that Christianity is too often considered to be a private with no public ramifications. This misconception is investigated in Chapter 2. Calvin, Kuyper, Elizabeth Fry, Wilberforce, William Booth are all cited of examples of Christians whose faith has made a public difference. The privatising effect of human reason on through the Enlightenment and human experience on faith through Romanticism are briefly - albeit oversimplified - examined.

Chester focuses on poverty as a key social issue, but he sees it including social marginalization and powerlessness. He advocates a relational approach to poverty. Tackling poverty is much more than feeding the hungry, poverty is more than a lack of income. The root of poverty is alienation from God, poverty is economic and social: it is "about marginalization, vulnerability, isolation and exclusion." This is obviously an area in which Christianity can help.

Chester makes a good case for social action that precedes, accompanies and follows evangelism. What he doesn't do is to show how social action and social reform relate. Does social reform need to follow social action?

Chester provides good reasons for the need for evangelicals to be involved in social action. He also provides some useful suggestions and ideas for involvement and includes some pertinent warnings: social action doesn't mean doing something for the poor, it is more than providing solutions. More effective ways include helping people to help themselves: "Good social involvement is helping people o find their own solutions." Participation is key.

The book includes some thought provoking poems by Stuart Henderson, a number of vignettes that help focus the issues on real situations, a useful list of further reading and a bibliography.


1. The Case for Social Involvement
2. More Than a Private Faith
3. The Case for Evangelizing the Poor
4. Social Involvement and Proclamation
5. Social Involvement and the Kingdom of God
6. Good News to the Poor
"Land of Milk and Honey" Stewart Henderson
7. Good News to the Rich
8. Welcoming the Excluded
9. Strengthening the Powerless
10. Following the Crucified Lord
11. Can We Make a Difference?
"Jesus, Jewel of the Poor" Stewart Henderson

Proverbs: "Reconstructed"
Proverbs: "Reconstructed"
by Gus Dallas
Edition: Paperback
Price: 15.04

1.0 out of 5 stars Proverbs without integrity, 5 Feb 2013
How should we read Proverbs? Unfortunately, this book doesn't help. It divorces Proverbs from its context, historically, culturally and canonically. It provides a model of how not to read Proverbs. Essentially it lists all the Proverbs under separate headings such as Abomination, Adultery, Adversity, Advocate, Anger, Answer, Anxiety, Age, Animal, Ant, Apple, Argue, Associations, Atonement, Authority - to list just the A categories. The proverbs are then sorted into these categories under good or bad sections. Such a cut and paste approach may appeal to some; but not to me. It makes Proverbs into a set of cookie promises.

Fortunately, I didn't have to spend money to get this book - I was provided with an electronic review copy. Don't waste your money buying this. If you want to know how to read proverbs you'd be much better buying Craig Bartholomew's booklet Reading Proverbs with integrity (Grove biblical series)(Grove Books, 2001). Sadly, it is integrity that this book lacks.

Ernest Kevan: Leader in Twentieth Century British Evangelicalism
Ernest Kevan: Leader in Twentieth Century British Evangelicalism
by Paul E. Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy tribute, 27 Dec 2012
In his introduction Paul Brown, former pastor of Bethel Chapel, Stoke-on-Trent, comments that if you look up Dr Ernest F. Kevan on the internet you are likely to think that he is only known for writing book entitled The Grace of Law. But, no longer, Brown has changed that - a search for Ernest Kevan now leads to several reviews of Brown's book. Brown knew Kevan while he was a student at London Bible College (1957-1960) when Kevan was principal.

Kevan was perhaps best-known as the principal of London Bible College (now called the London School of Theology) (1946-1965) and for his joint editorship of the Inter-Varsity Fellowship's one volume commentary of the Bible. Several chapters are devoted to Kevan's role as principal of the LBC, but only a few paragraphs on the influential commentary.

Kevan's upbringing was Strict Baptist, but of the more open kind. He pastored three Strict Baptist congregations. The first, at Church Hill Baptist, Walthamstow, when he was only 21. Here he found his wife, Jennie several years his senior, engaged in church planting and wrote his first book: London's Oldest Baptist Church. In 1934 he became the pastor of Zion, New Cross. From there he took up the pastorate for a short time at Trinity Road Chapel, Tooting (1944), while being involved with the establishing of the interdenominational London Bible College.

A good third of the book deals with his time at LBC. Two chapters deal with his 'wider ministry'. Unusually for a Strict Baptist (SB) Kevan had been involved with the Keswick movement. He had even encouraged other SB's to attend. It was in 1953 that he was asked to deliver the Bible readings. He chose to preach on Romans 7-8, key Keswick verses. Graham Scroggie had the previous year preached on the same passages, expounding the traditional Keswick view of holiness and sanctification. It could not have been a coincidence that Kevan took up the same verses to expound a traditional Calvinistic view of sanctification. Obviously Kevan was able to go where no other SB had gone before!

This biography is very readable and Brown has made good use of his sources notably Kirby's short biography - Kirby was Kevan's successor as principal of LBC - and the two histories of LBC by Harold Rowden and Ian Randall. He has also made good use of Kevan's written works and this book has numerous extracts from them at key points, allowing Kevan to 'speak for himself'.

One appendix provides a helpful summary of Kevan's doctorate published as The Grace of Law, which is still available; another appendix provides extracts from his other works; and yet another copies of some important documents including letters to Dr Martryn Lloyd-Jones. Several photographs serve to add value to the book.

This book is a worthy tribute to an unassuming, often overlooked, but highly influential Calvinist evangelical of the twentieth century.

This review first appeared here: [...]

The Entrepreneurial Vocation
The Entrepreneurial Vocation
Price: 1.99

3.0 out of 5 stars The Lord's my entrepreneur - I shall not lack?, 27 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Lord is my entrepreneur I shall not lack?

This is little book asks the right questions. I'm not sure it always gives the right answers.

Robert Sirico is a Catholic priest who co-founded the Acton Institute in 1990. He has written this book out of a concern for the church and the lack of understanding of economic principles. He writes with the aim of integrating the concept of entrepreneur and vocation. He is right when he writes:

While entrepreneurs should not be unfairly criticized for making money, they also must not be treated as victims of unjust discrimination who deserve a special blessing. However, it is also true that their chosen profession deserves to be legitimized by their faith. The public must begin to acknowledge the value of the entrepreneurial vocation, the wise stewardship of talents, and the tangible contributions of entrepreneurs to society.

He starts by highlighting the lack of insight many have regarding the integration of faith and business. Typical of many examples is this one Sirico gives:

I recall one man, a self-described conservative Christian, saying that he no longer attended church services because he refused to sit in the pew with his family and, in effect, be chastised for his business acumen. How many critical sermons can a small-business owner or investment banker hear before he or she loses heart and decides to sleep in on the Sabbath?

His analysis is correct. "An obvious reason for this ignorance is the astonishing lack of any economics training in virtually all seminaries." He may well be right, but is that the role of seminaries? Does this mean we should also provide science training in seminaries, and what about politics, art .... the danger then would be the seminary becomes a general education college. I would rather see seminaries equipping the pastors to be able to equip the rest of the saints. That may include some economics training, but better would be equipping in the tools to be able to critique the economic, scientific, political, .... ideologies.

I must also confess to being a little troubled by his 'principal argument':

The principal argument of this essay is that the pursuit of excellence, like the mind's original constitution, discloses humanity's ontological orientation toward the highest and most supreme good, namely, the perfect apprehension of God in heaven (cf. 1 Cor.13:12).

This sounds a little close to being neo-platonic.

He helpfully contrasts two views of the market the first held by 'religious leaders' as they pass the collection plate, is static and commands a Robin Hood morality; the other held by entrepreneur is of making rather than collecting money, the market is dynamic, a process rather than a place or object. This is obviously an over-characterisation. He makes this point to show that the 'clergy' must understand the market economy.

For those who think that the business enterprise is fuelled by selfishness and greed or that when entrepreneurs make economic losses they are getting their just deserts, this booklet will provide a helpful antidote.

He closes the book by taking a look at the parable of the talents and uses it to show how business and entrepreneurship are not no-go areas for Christians. As he rightly notes: "Entrepreneurs are the source of more social and spiritual good than is generally recognized."

There is much in this short booklet for careful and considered thought, it will provide the stimulus to think more carefully over these issues. The entrepreneur is a part of God's good creation and should be valued as such. The entrepreneurial vocation is just as much a vocation, a calling as being a priest, pastor or preacher.

The Hope In Hope Street
The Hope In Hope Street
Price: 3.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Every church tells a stroy, 27 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Every church building can tell a story. Unfortunately, not many are told. This book tells the story of one small evangelical congregation through the years. The book was written by the present pastor, Grevase Charmely (who blogs here), to celebrate Bethel Evangelical Church's 200 years of existence.

This local expression of church is currently affiliated to the FIEC. But that wasn't always the case. It started life as a congregational chapel, became associated with Edward Jeffrey's Bethel movement before returning to its congregational roots and then became affiliated to FIEC.

Founded in October 1812 as Hope Chapel by some who had seceded from the large Congegational Tabernacle, which was formed as a result of the preaching of Revd George Burder and Captain James Scott when they came to the Potteries town of Hanley. Hope's first pastor came two years after it was founded.

One small criticism is that the story of the church is told through its pastors. Little is provided of how the congregation were engaged in ministry outside of the church. This is probably inevitable as the historical documents relate to the pastors and not the congregation. However, it implicitly leaves the impression that the only ministry is that done by the pastor, the minister.

Revd John Greeves (1791-1846), a Methodist convert from Buxton, was the first to fill the pulpit full-time. On leaving Hope Chapel a few years later he went back to his Methodist roots. The more experienced Revd William Farmer (1780- ) took up the reigns in 1816. Farmer was embroiled in accusations of sexual infelicitations - he strenuously denied them; but this had an effect on his church ministry. He left Hope Chapel in 1824. When he left he took about 50 of the congregation with him and formed a new local church.

Being an evangelical church mission was rightly and inevitably high on its agenda and a number of saints were sent from Bethel as overseas missionaries. The first ones sent from the church were contemporaries of the Serampore trio in india.

1824-1827 was the time of Pastor Samuel Jackson, this was followed by John Edmonds and then in 1842 the Revd Charles Fox Vardy (1806-1889). Vardy's health meant he had to resign in 1847. Other pastors in the nineteenth-century included Robert Macbeth, James Deakin, John Kay and Richard Henry Smith and David Horne (uncle of Charles Silvester Horne, the notable Congregationalist). Smith was a particularly interesting character. Smith had a great interest in art and wrote several books on art, including Expositions of the Cartoons of Raphael (1861). He used this interest to help working class people understand art and to introduce them to the Gospel, in part he was the forerunner of the Pleasant Sunday Afternoon men's fellowship (PSA).

William Landsell was responsible for leading the congregation out of the long nineteenth-century into the somewhat troubled twentieth. It was during this time that falling church numbers began to hit Hanley and far wider. The church suffered from the effects of the First World War. During this time there were several attempts at linking congregations, as there was a problem with small congregations supporting full-time pastors. Respite from decline came in the form of Edward Jeffreys, son and nephew of the Pentecostal pioneers Stephen and George Jeffreys. Edward Jeffreys had set up the Bethel Evangelistic Society He came to the Potteries in 1930. Hope Chapel were enamoured with him and agreed to become part of the Bethel set-up. This involved a name change to bethel temple and Jeffreys provided them with Pastor W. J. Jones and then Pastor Alfred Anderson Brown. Edward Jeffreys originally held a Pentecostal theology, but later came to amend his views. Pastor Ernest John Vernon took over from Brown in 1934. In 1939 the Bethel movement was wound up and this left bethel once more an independent church. Edward Jeffreys went on to be ordained into the Anglican Church.

The Second World War caused as many issues as the first. Vernon's sudden death in 1953 left the way for Mr Archibald Walter Mead to become the pastor. Under pastor Mead Bethel affiliated to the FIEC.

The next major event of the church involves the new building - here they had to take on the supermarket giants Tesco and won. the result was a modern new building which now stands on the site of the old. This was under the pastorship of Paul E. Brown, the author of the recent biography of Ernest Kevan.

This is a fascinating story of two centuries of church history. It is well written and well researched. Many primary documents as well as family history documents consulted. It provides ample evidence of God's sovereign grace in a local congregation.

The New Perspective on Paul (Biblical)
The New Perspective on Paul (Biblical)
by Michael Bruce Thompson
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good brief summary, 8 Nov 2012
This short accessible book examines the controversial issue of the New Perspective on Paul. Often this debate has generated more heat than light, but Thompson has produced an excellent eirenical introduction that will help illuminate the debate.

He examines the problems with the Lutheran view that shaped the 'old perspective' and looks at how Sanders, Dunn and Wright have responded to that. He then looks at the benefits and the threats of the New Perspective in an even-handed way.

If you wondered what the New perspective is all about, then there is perhaps no better first place to look at than this booklet. A page of further reading is provided for those who want to take the issues further.

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