Church Mission Society became the publisher of ANVIL in 2016, taking the journal on from an independent board. This 2014 issue was originally published on the Sciendo website.
Let’s Talk About Sex
Issues surrounding human sexuality continue to be at the forefront of the Church’s life, across both the Church of England and the Communion as a whole. The energy surrounding disagreements and discussions has been heightened following the recent publication of the Pilling Report (compiled by the House of Bishops Working Group on Human Sexuality). As the Report makes clear, however, the challenges that the Church faces relating to this issue are numerous and go far beyond the ethics surrounding same sex attraction. …
‘Love Does Not Delight in Evil, but Rejoices With the Truth.’ A Theological and Pastoral Reflection On My Journey Away From A Homosexual Identity
This article offers theological reflection on the author’s experience, initially as a celibate gay person and subsequently as someone who has chosen not to be defined as gay and who has married. It argues that faithfulness to the classic Christian teaching about sex and marriage is liberating rather than homophobic, and that the contemporary cultural tendency to conflate sexual desire with identity bears at least some of the blame for the gay experience of marginalisation. This conflation must be questioned. The article concludes by relating this to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s critique of anthropocentric construals of ‘love’.
Cracking the Binary Code
This paper offers a critique of the ‘binary’ nature of much biblical interpretation and ethical belief in the Church, rejecting simplistic ‘either-or’ approaches to both. Instead there is offered an interpretation of key biblical texts through the lenses of circumstances, needs and motivation. It is argued that, when these factors are taken into account, even for Evangelicals, there is no longer a substantive biblical case against the acceptance of faithful, loving same-sex partnerships and the development of a positive Christian ethic for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. At the very least, the complexity of the interpretive task must lead to greater openness to and acceptance of those from whom we differ.
Learning to Take Scripture Seriously
Evan D. Garner
This paper is mainly the product of an international conference on sexuality and scripture that was held in Limuru, Kenya, during the summer of 2013. For almost two-thousand years, Christians have held different views on the role and authority of scripture in the Church. Those differences were made manifest by the participants in this conference. Largely because of their diverse cultural backgrounds, leaders from different parts of the global Christian community continue to use the Bible in the debates over human sexuality in remarkably different ways. This paper identifies the Contextual Bible Study method as a promising hermeneutical tool for finding agreement in the interpretation of scripture among individuals from such diverse backgrounds and from competing theological positions. After reviewing the Contextual Bible Study method and its applicability to the issue of human sexuality, the paper suggests the benefits of leaving behind familiar arguments over those passages of scripture most often cited in these debates in favour of a robust discussion of yet largely unexplored theological arguments.
Learning From Indaba: Some Lessons For Post-Pilling Conversations
Francis Bridger and Andrew Goddard
The Church of England’s Pilling Report recommends a series of ‘facilitated conversations at a national and diocesan level’ on the subject of human sexuality, similar to the Continuing Indaba Project in the Anglican Communion. In this article Goddard and Bridger, who were members of an independent ecumenical team that observed at first hand the work of Continuing Indaba over a period of three years, trace the history and working of the project. They offer a critical assessment of its strengths and weaknesses, drawing upon conflict resolution theories and setting indaba in the context of these. They argue that although indaba undoubtedly offers valuable insights and practices, it must learn from a wider body of knowledge and resolution approaches, and must be complemented by methodologies that give a sufficient place to theology. This is necessary in order to address fundamental questions involved in dealing with theological and cultural diversity. They conclude that only this will offer an adequate basis for the post-Pilling process to move forward.
Book Reviews, Part 1
Davis, D. R. (2013). The Bible Speaks Today: The Message of Daniel. Nottingham: IVP; Thiselton, A. C. (2013). The Holy Spirit: In biblical teaching, through the centuries, and today. London: SPCK; Bridge, F & Butler, J. T. (Eds.) (2012). Conversations on the Edges of Things: Reflections for the Church in Honor of John Goldingay. Eugene: Pickwick Publications/Wipf & Stock; Dell, K. J. & Joyce, P. M. (Eds.) (2013). Biblical Interpretation and Method: Essays in Honour of John Barton. Oxford: Oxford University Press; Hoek, M., Ingleby, J., Kingston-Smith, A. & Kingston-Smith, C. (Eds.) 2013. Carnival Kingdom – Biblical Justice for Global Communities. Gloucester: Wide Margin; Boda, M. J. & McConville, G. (Eds.) 2012. Dictionary of the Old Testament Prophets. Downers Grove: IVP Academic; Tilling, C. (2012). Paul’s Divine Christology. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck; Astley, J. & Francis, L. J. (Eds.) (2013). Exploring Ordinary Theology: Everyday Christian Believing and the Church. Farnham: Ashgate; Busch, E. (2010). Drawn to Freedom: Christian Faith Today in Conversation with the Heidelberg Catechism. W.H. Rader (Tr.). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans; Squire, A. (2010). Asking the Fathers. London: SPCK; Tomlin, G. (2011). The Prodigal Spirit. London: Alpha Publications; Wessels, A. (2013). The Torah, The Gospel and the Qur’an: Three Books, Two Cities, One Tale. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
Book Reviews, Part 2
Bonhoeffer, D. (Plant, S. & Burrowes-Cromwell, T., Eds.) (2013) Letters to London: Bonhoeffer’s previously unpublished correspondence with Ernst Cromwell, 1935-1936. London: SPCK; Earey, M. (2013). Beyond Common Worship: Anglican Identity and Liturgical Diversity. London: SCM; Heywood, D. (2013). Transforming Preaching – the sermon as a channel for God’s word. London: SPCK; Kirchhoffer, D., Horner, R. & McArdle, P. (Eds.) (2013). Being Human: Groundwork for a Theological Anthropology for the 21st Century. Preston, Vic: Mosaic Press; Lovell, G. & Richardson, N. G. (2011). Sustaining Preachers and Preaching: A Practical Guide. London/New York: T&T Clark International; Nazir-Ali, M. (2012). Triple Jeopardy for the West. London: Bloomsbury; Pike, M. A. (2013). Mere Education: C.S. Lewis as Teacher for our Time. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press; Rosman, D. (2011). Evangelicals and Culture. Eugene: Wipf and Stock; Stanley, B. (2013). The Global Diffusion of Evangelicalism: The Age of Billy Graham and John Stott. Nottingham: IVP; Treier, D. J. & Lauber, D. (Eds.) (2009). Trinitarian Theology for the Church: Scripture, Community, Worship. Grand Rapids: IVP Academic; Yates, T. (2013). The Conversion of the Māori: Years of Religious and Social Change, 1814-1842. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.