US release of Trinity book

IVP have announced the US edition of my Trinity book here, complete with a new title (The Quest for the Trinity: The Doctrine of God in Scripture, History and Modernity) and cover. Neither title was mine; the US version, with its echo of Schweitzer, is not something I would have dared to choose myself, but the fact that an editor – someone who I know, and whose theological insight I respect greatly – suggested it encouraged me to think that the book is being understood in the way I hoped it might be. Anyway, it should be available in November for any interested American...

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The trouble with ‘normal’: a further note on human sexuality

I have argued before on this blog that one of the problems with contemporary ecclesial debates over human sexuality is the assumption that a Christian sexual ethic should celebrate, and enshrine, ‘normal’ sexuality. It occurs to me in reading some recent public comments from different churches that one of the problems with this is the slipperiness of the word ‘normal’. I think there is a fundamental ambiguity in the word which is not often recognised. It is so elusive that it is even there in the OED definition(!), where 2a (the relevant meaning) offers: ‘Constituting or conforming to a type or standard; regular, usual, typical; ordinary, conventional.’ With fear and trembling – can the OED ever be wrong? – I want...

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Church Growth in Britain 3: New Churches

Six chapters of the book focus on new churches, three looking specifically at Black Majority Churches, and three more widely. Hugh Osgood gives an excellent overview of the growth of BMCs; Richard Burgess offers an account of one denomination, The Redeemed Christian Church of God; and Amy Duffuor offers an account of a single congregation, Freedom Centre International in Peckham. All three chapters are interesting and valuable in charting the changing experiences of BMCs, and their intentional moves to keep the next generation and to adapt to changing cultural locations of their worshippers. George Lings (who was my vicar for the few months of my life I spent worshipping in an Anglican parish) offers a chapter on ‘Fresh Expressions and Church Planting in...

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Child circumcision and religious liberty

The reporting of the recent regional court judgement concerning infant circumcision in Germany has been predictably sensationalist; it is a ruling of a local and low court, binding only in a very limited geographical area, and I assume – albeit as a legal layperson – that it will be overturned fairly quickly. (The European Convention on Human Rights – which will overrule any local law in Germany – does, it is true, place a ‘public health’ exclusion on the right to family life (8.2) and the right to freedom of religious practice (9.2), but (a) ‘public health’ usually means the prevention of communicable diseases or widespread health threats, not protection from individual harm (assuming it is accepted that male...

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