Posts by Thom Atkinson

Marriage, Family & Relationships - title page

Over the summer I attended the Tyndale Fellowship Quadrennial conference on Marriage, family and relationships. It was fantastic.

Read (Galatians 5:13-26).

This post continues our series ‘The Whole of Life for Christ.’ It follows Antony Billington and Mark Greene’s excellent book with the same name.

This post is the third of a short series summarising the three main talks given by Jonathan Chaplin and Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin at the Faith-in-Scholarship conference in February. (Summary of Jonathan’s first talk. Summary of Adrienne’s first talk.)

The fact that Christians put a strong emphasis on justice is nothing new. At my church we’re currently working through Amos in our home groups. Amos surveys the surrounding lands and finds great injustices occurring there. He notices that injustices are occurring in (i) the law courts (Amos 2:6), (ii) the market place (Amos 2:7), (iii) the bedroom (Amos 2:7) and (iv) religious temples (Amos 2:8). They’re all areas where justice is not being done; areas that God, so it seems, cares equally about but where His good standards are not being applied.

How does the good of justice apply in academic life? I want to suggest that it affects us in two ways: content and culture.

I wonder why you praise God for sending his son at Christmas. Is it because of the forgiveness that Jesus’ later death and resurrection would afford? Is it because Jesus was the means by which we can have a restored relationship with God? Is it because we remember how the first stage of the promise of a (distant) future to be spent in God’s new creation was beginning to be put into action? These reasons are good reasons to praise God for sending his son into the world. But going to this year’s carol services and hearing the typical Christmas readings each week has made me, yet again, re-evaluate my reasons for praising God at Christmas.

The main reason I chose to do a PhD was, as they say in some theology schools, ‘missional’. In this post I will explain this, and also assess the strengths and weaknesses of my answer a few years into my PhD research.

This summer marked the 140th Keswick Convention. The Keswick Convention is a three-week long meeting of Christians in the Lake District with a history of Bible-centred teaching alongside practical seminars. It’s for all ages and interests and of course set in one of the most awe-inspiring parts of the British Isles.

I am a leader on the 19-24s programme and so was excited when I learnt that the theme of this year’s convention would be ‘The whole of life for Christ’. It would encourage us to

grapple with the challenge of living the whole of life for Christ: our work, our leisure, our place in the community, our homes, our role in public life, our responsibility to care for creation, and so much more.

Recently upon chatting with an older and wiser Christian we got onto the topic of discerning the idols of our culture. He, a pastor from Cambridge, quickly came out with the following: “healthcare and education”. Now, agree with him or not, his answer was telling. He continued by saying that the two people groups among his congregation that most often shrank back from service in the church and felt justified in doing so were doctors and academics. Why? Well, the answer seemed obvious; our culture thinks that education and healthcare will solve the world’s biggest problems and so what they’re doing is really making a difference.

There are few topics in theology that so readily act as a prism to refract one’s worldview and reveal various strands of one’s theological commitments as the topic of life after death. When discussing what happens at death one very quickly reveals one’s hand on a variety of issues. Three that spring to mind are the following: the value and purpose of human life, the ontological nature of the human person and the efficacy of Christ’s death on the cross.

For the next few weeks the FiSch blog posts will contain summaries of the talks given at the annual FiSch postgraduate leaders’ conference. The first talk was one of two given by Tom McLeish titled “Science, Wisdom and Interdisciplinarity”.

The general aim of Tom’s talk was to offer a distinctly Christian understanding of science and research that naturally leads to a theoretical foundation, a home, for interdisciplinary research (not, however, to the detriment of single-disciplinary research). He approached this aim by outlining what science is, what a Christian understanding of science is and how this (in contrast to postmodernism) offers a theoretical foundation for interdisciplinary research.

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