Normally I like to list books that are not going to break the bank. However, there is one this month which is pricier than the normal works reviewed. I include the Lucien Leusteau volume (at a hefty £85) because it may well be of interest to some in this diocese as it deals with a period in the recent history of Eastern Christianity.
Just click on the read more link for the selection. Buona lettura!
The Fresh Expressions movement emerging out of the Mission Shaped Church report has become a central focus of the mission work of the Church of England in early twenty first century. However, in this new book Dr Andrew Davison of Westcott House Cambridge and Dr Alison Milbank of Nottingham University and Southwell Minster argue that is a mistake to reject the Church of England’s traditional parochially based approach to mission in favour of an approach based on Fresh Expressions. They argue that because the forms of the Church are an embodiment of the faith, they need to be determined by theological tradition rather than simply by accommodation to the surrounding culture, and that the traditions of the parish church represent ways in which time, space and community are ordered in relation to God and the gospel. In their view this means that the parochial system represents a more theologically adequate basis for mission than the network approach favoured by Fresh Expressions and is capable of bearing a more robust Christian witness to contemporary society. This book is worth reading both as a critique of Fresh Expressions and as an argument for the continuing missiological importance of the parish.
Lion Hudson, ISBN 978-0-74595-306-9, £10.99 The term ‘Clapham sect’ was first used in an article in the Edinburgh Review in 1844. As a title for the group concerned it is doubly misleading. The group was not a sect and only some of its members had links with Clapham. However, the name has stuck and is used to refer to a group of Evangelical Christians, linked by friendship and family relations, who were prominent in England from about 1790 to 1830 and who campaigned for the abolition of slavery and promoted missionary work at home and abroad. The group centred on the church of John Venn, Rector of Clapham (hence the name) and its other members included well known figures such as William Wilberforce, Henry Thornton, James Stephen and Zachary Macaulay. In his new book the writer and broadcaster Stephen Tomkins tells the story of the group and the religious and political campaigns in which they were involved and assesses their long term influence on Victorian Britain and the British Empire. This is a useful introduction for anyone who wants to know more about the Clapham Sect and even for those familiar with it the book addresses new issues, such as the issue of why Wilberforce and other members of the group were prepared to support the continuation of a form of temporary slavery in Sierra Leone.