Church Mission Society became the publisher of ANVIL in 2016, taking the journal on from an independent board. This 2015 issue was originally published on the Sciendo website.
Islam in Britain
The relationship between Islam and Christianity in the UK is a complex one, and three articles in a journal can barely scratch the surface of that complexity. It is undoubtedly true that violent Islamist inspired extremism is on the rise throughout the world. And it is equally true that the overwhelming majority of Muslims who live in the UK have no terrorist or violent intentions towards their fellow British citizens. But so much more can, and should, be said.
Between Diaspora and Mainstream: Making Sense of Muslim Communities in Britain
To understand the diverse ethno-Muslim communities which have made Britain their home over a period of sixty years requires insights drawn a variety of academic disciplines, especially migration studies, the sociology of religion and history. These studies illuminate the specificities of competing understandings of Islam that migrant communities brought with them from their countries of origin. It is also clear that second and third generation British Muslims have to negotiate relations between three distinct religious and social worlds: traditional Islam imported from their relatives’ homeland; expressions of Islam drawn from across the Muslim world – the umma – now accessible at a click of a mouse; and, Britain itself, where, among a new generation of graduates and professionals, some are seeking new and more expansive readings of Islam to connect with their lived experience, while others, albeit a small minority, are also tapping into ‘shaykh google’ and the social media to embrace violent, jihadist readings of their tradition. There is a wealth of diversity within British Islam and this short article simply gives a brief and sketchy overview of some of the main trends.
Reading the Bible with Islam in Mind
Unless the world has changed beyond recognition, everyone reading this article will have seen something frightening that is referred to as ‘Islamic’ in this week’s news media. Most readers will also have spoken with Muslims this week, and some will have Muslims in their family or be or have been Muslims themselves. What difference, I wonder, does this make to your study of the Bible? What difference does it make to the sermons that you will be preaching or hearing next Sunday?
This article aims to give you a taste of what difference it could (and, perhaps, should) make, by exploring the questions raised by an Islamic context for the reading of particular passages of the Bible.
Hospitality and the Other: Anglican Schools As Places of Transformative Encounter
This article argues that Anglican foundation schools have a positive impact on pupils’ sense of belonging to the wider community by creating safe spaces within which to encounter difference in a positive and transformative manner. The paper is divided into three main sections. First, the context in which the article was written is outlined. Details of the author’s two years of fieldwork in a multi cultural Anglican primary school are set out and an understanding of Anglican schools as places which display an authentic outworking of a Christian worldview is explained. Second, the role of Anglican schools as places of encounter is discussed, with reference both to relevant Anglican literature and to the author’s own experience of Anglican schools. This includes a substantial discussion of the Anglican understanding of hospitality as the foundation for creating safe spaces for transformative encounters. Hospitality is understood solely in a religious sense, of a Christian school acting as host to those of all faiths and none. Third, the core values of respect, forgiveness and freedom, which support the status of Anglican schools as safe spaces of encounter are elucidated. This involves both examples from the author’s fieldwork and also published literature on the topic. Respect is discussed as a foundational value for any encounter with difference, which must be balanced with a willingness to forgive those who react negatively to such encounters. Freedom is understood specifically in the context of freedom of religious belief, reinforcing an understanding that Anglican schools do not engage in proselytising activity. The article concludes by reinforcing the central argument of the paper that Anglican faith schools contribute to a sense of belonging to a wider community through creating safe spaces to encounter the other and taking deliberate steps to engage with that other.
Paul and the Faithfulness of God: A Review Essay
NT Wright—or “Tom” to his friends—has inspired a generation of Christian scholars, and I count myself to be one of them. Reading volumes I and II of his “Christian Origins and the Question of God” helped me have the confidence to become a thinking Christian, one not bound by fear that academic research would inevitably lead to the demise of “my faith”! I owe Tom, then, a great debt of gratitude, even if I have since come to disagree with some of his positions. It goes without saying that, as a result, many of us engaged in Pauline studies have waited with great anticipation for his major work on Paul. Given Tom’s learning, his eloquence and rhetorical skills, his ability to synthesise large swathes of data into a coherent and plausible hypothesis, Paul and the Faithfulness of God (hereafter PFG) is quite a publishing event, not to mention an enormous intellectual achievement. That said, I have a number of abiding concerns and questions to pursue, so in the following I will (1) briefly overview the volume, (2) note some outstanding questions and potential problems by focusing on what I see are a clusters of critical issues, and (3) ask why these problems have surfaced, and ask what is, then, required in response?
Strange, D. (2014). ‘For Their Rock Is Not As Our Rock’: An evangelical theology of religions. Nottingham: IVP; Drodge, A. J. (2013). The Qur’an: A New Annotated Translation. Sheffield, Equinox; Knott, K., Poole, E., & Taira, T. (2013). Media Portrayals of Religion and the Secular Sacred: Representation and Change. Farnham, Ashgate; Roots, M. & Buckley, J. (2014). Christian Theology and Islam. Cambridge: James Clark & Co; Harvey, A. E. (2012). Is Scripture Still Holy? Coming of Age With the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans; Lane, T. (2013). Exploring Christian Doctrine. London: SPCK; Healy, N.M. (2014). Hauerwas: A (Very) Critical Introduction. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans; Northcott, M. S. (2014). A Political Theology of Climate Change. London: SPCK; Ross-McNairn, J. (2014). Being a curate: Stories of what it’s really like. London: SPCK; Pritchard, J. (2014). The Journey: With Jesus to Jerusalem and the Cross. London: SPCK; Baker, J. & Ross, C. (2014). The Pioneer Gift: Explorations in Mission. Norwich, Canterbury Press; González, O. E. and González, J. L. (2014). Nuestra fe: a Latin American church history sourcebook. Nashville: Abingdon Press; Groves, P. and Parry-Jones, A. (2014). Living Reconciliation. London: SPCK; Yan, K. S. C. (2014). Evangelization in China: Challenges and Prospects. Maryknoll: Orbis Books.