KEDS Christianity & Culture Conference
On Saturday 26th September, Rev Alex Jacob was invited to speak at the Kings Evangelical Divinity School Annual Conference by Principal Dr. Calvin Smith. He was joined by one of our volunteer reps, David Pick, who provided us with an overview of the conference.
Christianity and Culture: Evangelical theology in post-Christian Britain The meeting was organised by the King’s Evangelical Divinity School (KEDS), with Principal Dr Calvin Smith introducing the speakers.
Dr Andy Cheung spoke about the social and cultural impact upon modern Bible translations. He felt there is a place for both literal and "dynamic equivalent" translations, but that it is important to maintain a loyalty towards the original text; for example, the current gender-neutral renditions are possibly crossing a line that should not be crossed. We were very privileged to have our next speaker, Paul Diamond, a top barrister who has been involved in some high-profile Christian legal cases as he stands counsel to the Christian Legal Centre. He says that since 1997 when an archbishop endorsed sharia law, there has been a sharp increase in anti-Christian/Judeo thinking. He discussed many cases that are well-known such as the BA employee who wore the cross necklace, and some that did not make the news. One self-declared sharia law area in the UK got a Christian church closed for making too much noise singing on a Sunday. We seem to be returning to 1st century Christianity when Christians were persecuted by the pagan governing Romans. There are disproportionate legal sanctions for the Christian who in some way speaks out against, for example, gay marriage. As believers we need courage and strength to speak out against persecution of the Judeo-Christian tradition of our country. "If we genuinely believe the Bible, what can man do to us?"
Alex Jacob brought many insights from the ministry of CMJ to his talk on cultural challenges to Jewish evangelism. He spoke about how the Holocaust has affected Jewish thought: should we or should we not keep a reverential silence about Jesus after this episode in history? Alex felt that for the church to withhold its message from the Jews would itself be anti-Semitic. The restoration of Israel gives us a new confidence in evangelism and also gives a fresh momentum to, and understanding of, the scriptures, eg the passage in Isa 19 which now makes a lot more sense. Alex says that we have secondary and primary markers as to who we are. The secondaries are the place we come from, our culture and our faith background. The primary is our faith in Jesus and the indwelling spirit; we must not let the secondary markers become the primary as we are all one new man in Christ.
Thomas Fretwell spoke from Rom 11: 25-29, a key passage in Jewish mission. Some of his key points were- there is a direct line from Augustine to Auschwitz; the culture of the day is screaming lies at our young people; in studying eschatology don’t just look to the future but at the whole Bible narrative: and from Rom 15:27b, we need to share our physical blessings with the Jewish people.