Looking for an out-of-print book? Try S. C. Fordham's BookSearch, <http://www.scfordham.com>. Each time you purchase a book, and mention the Gospel and Our Culture network, the network receives a commission. 

The Gospel and Our Culture: Resources

Choice articles and quotations

Introductory essay on the Gospel and Our Culture

Introductory essay: resources and streams of reflection

Reading list: books, listed by subject

Reading list: articles, listed by alphabetically by author

Each of these is explained further below

Western culture continues to drift away from Christian faith, with which it has long been bound historically.  What would it mean for the Gospel more fully to penetrate and transform contemporary Western culture which shapes how we see and live in our world today? Can we rise to better spiritual discernment regarding Western culture? Can we participate more faithfully in God's mission in and to this complex cultural world which we inhabit?

Below you will find some resources for pursuing these questions further:

Choice articles and quotations. Here is a collection of first class articles to read online, and also selected quotes and brief passages on various topics.
  1. Finding bearings for the task. Here are some preliminary thoughts about Christian self-awareness and engagement with Western culture.
  2. General resources and streams of reflection. Various authors and streams of Christian  scholarship have sought to discern what kind of mission field Western culture represents. Some of these are here introduced. We can listen and learn from these partners in discernment; we can challenge and guide each other in pursuing authentic witness in and to culture.
  3. Making connections: Christian cultural engagement and discernment ranges across many familiar fields of study. Identified here are some points of intersection, together with reading lists of key books etc on specific topics.
  4. List of miscellaneous articles etc Finally you will find a descriptive list of several hundred helpful articles and passages from books. These range across many fields relevant to Gospel and culture reflection.

A. Finding bearings for the task

The dawning kingdom of God in Jesus Christ is our context

Jesus Christ hailed a new context and source for life, in the sovereign approach of God. The kingdom or sovereignty of God was breaking upon the world, he said. His own life was grounded in this reality, and in his death and resurrection he became its focus. The dawning kingdom of God breaks open and enlarges the world we inhabit, drawing every part of it into participation in a new and deeper context - every personal attachment, every idea we have of ourselves, and every habit of thinking and practice, conscious and unconscious, which is part of our cultural belonging. At the heart of our participation in this new and profound context lies a deepening personal recognition of and relationship with God in worship and love. Such participation is a matter of our free personal response; we can resist it.

An inculturated Gospel

The Gospel or good news of God's in-breaking kingdom was proclaimed by Jesus in a particular cultural context, and the same has been true of every proclamation of the Gospel since. The Gospel is essentially embodied in persons and communities in particular historical and cultural contexts. When God's kingdom engages human life as the deeper context of all human life and culture it brings alive elements within these contexts in a new way, giving them new meaning and depth as signs rooted in and pointing to the reality of God. The history of Christianity is the history of culture coming alive in this way as faith becomes inculturated in successive human cultures.

Where cultural habits become occasions of resistance to the Gospel, culture begins to function as an idol instead of a sign. Even an explicitly 'Christian' culture can be idolatrous, when its understanding of God is controlled in hidden ways by allegiances which resist transformation and enlargement into the ultimate context of God's kingdom. In this case the Gospel becomes captive to (domesticated to, falsely accommodated to) culture; similarly it can become syncretistic, being ruled by religious beliefs contrary to the Gospel. Ironically Christian fundamentalism, which understands itself precisely as standing in determined resistance to cultural captivity, is typically captive to modern cultural assumptions which shape its understanding of the Gospel.

Faithful discernment is vital in recognising on the one hand how the Spirit of God is at work in, and would enlarge into the infinite life of God, elements within human culture, and in recognising on the other hand what resists the Spirit of God even though it may claim God's name.

Contemporary Western culture

The emergence of 'modern' cultures during recent centuries from Western Europe has been a unique development among the cultures of the world. Modern culture was at once deeply informed by its origins in medieval Christendom and at the same time turned away from religion: in the wake of religious wars it sought foundations for civil life elsewhere in the rational life of autonomous, equal, enlightened individuals.

Modernity has on the one hand been accompanied by the erosion of cultural features of medieval Christendom which bore no essential relation to Christian faith or even stood in conflict with it; it has been associated with may good cultural developments. On the other hand it has added, to the vaguaries of human response to God, habits of thought and imagination which render the kingdom of God unintelligible as the richer, deeper context and purpose in which all human life is embedded. By seeking ultimate foundations in reason it has concealed the ultimate context of rationality in the revelation of God's kingdom, of autonomy in loving service to God, of knowledge in a relationship of trusting faith in God, and of secular life in the sacred. Instead the things of God - revelation, service, faith, the sacred - have been displaced into a separate, 'private' realm within the supposedly given context of the secular world. Christian faith has been seen typically as a matter of individual conformity to beliefs regarding 'religious' matters and conformity to religiously dictated rules of personal morality operative within this secular world. This has fostered a gap between, amongst other things, 'private' Sunday worship and public life and work in the secular world for the remainder of the week.

Such an understanding of the Gospel is captive to Western culture, and renders it unintelligible. So what happens when the Spirit of God reveals the Gospel anew in this setting? At one and the same time, the Gospel reveals itself in its authentic engagement with culture, and in its light cultural presuppositions are exposed in their provisional and relative meaning. In the course of this, the sacred is freed from domestication in a separate, private sphere within an overarching secular, public world. This can happen in two seemingly opposite ways:

  1. adopting some feature of our cultural context for its starting-point, the Gospel may confront us in startling paradox. Presenting itself as enigmatic yet persuasive, it beckons and beguiles us and leads us to see things with new eyes. While such dawning disclosure arises in a particular cultural context, it does not leave this context intact as a starting-point: our world is broken open and false horizons melt as our presuppositions and attachments are set within the emergent horizons of a new, transcendent starting-point. Just as the Spirit of God, through Jesus' parables and symbolic acts and above all through his death and resurrection opened eyes and set hearts on fire, so here the mystery of God disturbs, enlivens and calls us out in the midst of our worldly ways.
  2. adopting a position over against our culture, the Gospel may expose this precisely as a matter of our hidden 'religious' allegiance to a particular worldview and habits of imagination. Here the Gospel refuses to be located within our received secular worldview or reduced to the demand of conformity to a set of beliefs and rules within it. It is not something to be seen from the secular world, but is itself something from or through which to see the world in every part. The Gospel is properly understood as an alternative worldview in which we are to dwell.

The Gospel must be recognised as speaking from both directions into contemporary Western culture. By itself the former can fall short of fulfilment and remain captive to unreflective modern rationality, leaving it intact; it has repeatedly to break open this starting point and constitute itself as a new starting-point in the transcendent. By itself the latter can fall short of fulfilment and remain captive to postmodern relativism in which there is only a multiplicity of worldviews; only through the revelation of the Gospel (and not on the basis of an a priori philosophical assumption) may a limited worldview be exposed as such, in the same way as other worldviews, precisely as it is engaged by and judged within the deeper setting and integrity of the Gospel.

To speak of the 'postmodern' here is to be reminded that in Western culture today important questions are being asked about our modern heritage. Much more radical, however, are the questions which the Gospel poses to modernity and to postmodernity. These questions arise with new urgency with the extraordinary new powers acquired by Western culture in recent years to shape human life both in Western societies and (even more than in the colonial age) around the globe. This shaping power - directed by ideologies and vested interests and operative through technology, the global economic system, mass media and consumerism - is growing hugely in out time. Here are the forces which provide the concrete agenda for mission to culture today.

Meanwhile, however, the authority of the Gospel to shape public life and to critique public ideology is increasingly dismissed. Although there has long been a quite widespread lingering deference towards Christian faith as a reminder of ultimate, universal meaning in human life, this is now fading. Taking its place is the view that Christian faith is one among many private 'faith' choices which people make for themselves alone - a view that modernity has long fostered. From this it would follow that Christian faith has no place addressing public life as such; her proper partners in dialogue are those who have made other such private 'faith' choices. To accept this, however, would be to leave the Gospel subverted and unintelligible.

In this cultural setting, what will it mean to witness to the Gospel of the kingdom of God as disclosing the deepest context of all human life and culture? Here is a vital question for our time.


B. General resources and streams of reflection

Key titles are printed bold.

A good place from which to start thinking about the Gospel to and in contemporary Western culture is the late writings of Lesslie Newbigin. Having served as a missionary and bishop in South India for many years, Newbigin returned to Britain in the 1970's. Whereas in his earlier writings he had drawn attention to the hidden ways in which English society was deeply shaped by its Christian heritage, now he challenged it as pagan' and challenged its church as domesticated to Enlightenment presuppositions turning Christian faith into a matter of private values which make no public claim to truth. Newbigin sought a more genuine missionary encounter than this with English culture.

A short book set the ball rolling: The Other Side of 1984 (WCC, 1983). Newbigin developed his argument further in Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture (SPCK, 1986) and then at greater length in The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (Eerdmans/WCC, 1989). Other relevant titles from him are Truth to Tell: The Gospel as Public Truth (Eerdmans/WCC, 1991); Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt and Certainty in Christian Discipleship (Eerdmans, 1995); and Truth and Authority in Modernity (Trinity Press International/Gracewing, 1996). The setting of these books within Newbigin's broader missiological thinking can be explored through his The Open Secret (Eerdmans, 1978) and its short precursor fifteen years earlier, Trinitarian Doctrine for Today's Mission (Edinburgh House Press, 1963, reprinted by Paternoster).

Alongside writing and lecturing, Newbigin launched the Gospel and Our Culture programme which was geared towards a major national consultation of church leaders at Swanwick in 1992 titled 'The Gospel as Public Truth'. From 1989 a Gospel and Our Culture newsletter helped to draw readers into the debate being fostered by the programme, basic themes of which can be seen in its pages. Newbigin's own account of the programme can be found in the postscript to his autobiography Unfinished Agenda: An Updated Autobiography (St Andrew's Press, 1993).

Newbigin's many-sided ministry and his theology have been explored by Geoffrey Wainwright in his Lesslie Newbigin: A Theological Life (Oxford University Press, 2000). Newbigin's missiological and ecclesiological thinking has been explored by George Hunsberger in Bearing the Witness of the Spirit: Lesslie Newbigin's Theology of Cultural Plurality (Eerdmans, 1998) and by Michael Goheen in As the Father Has Sent Me, I Am Sending You: J. E. Lesslie Newbigin's Missionary Ecclesiology (Boekencentrum, 2001) - two books arising out of their authors' doctoral studies.

A video, It's No Good Shouting, was produced in conjunction with the 1992 Swanwick Consultation. Lawrence Osborn, who played a key role in planning the consultation, was asked to write a book inspired by it. The result was Restoring the Vision: The Gospel and Modern Culture (Mowbray, 1995).

Meanwhile the British programme had spawned others in North America and New Zealand. In North America, a Gospel and Our Culture Network <www.gocn.org> co-ordinated by George Hunsberger today issues a quarterly newsletter and has seen the publication of a series of essay collections: The Church Between Gospel and Culture, Missional Church, Confident Witness - Changing World, and a monograph by Darell Guder, The Continuing Conversion of the Church (all published by Eerdmans). The North American Network holds regular consultations and through it many people are working together to shape 'missional' church congregations.

In New Zealand, meanwhile, Harold Turner established the Gospel and Cultures Trust (now DeepSight Trust - <www.deepsight.org>) in 1990. Dr Turner had been a close associate of Newbigin at Birmingham, England before moving to New Zealand in 1989. The current Secretary of DeepSight, John Flett, maintains its website and newsletter and had been constructing, in partnership with sister networks in Britain and the U.S., an online searchable database at <www.Newbigin.net>. DeepSight have published four full-length books: Harold Turner, Frames of Mind: A Public Philosophy for Religion & Cultures; Harold Turner, The Roots of Science: An Investigative Journey through the World's Religions; Harold Turner, The Laughter of Providence: Stories from a Life on the Margins; and Brian Carrell, Moving Between Times: Modernity and Postmodernity - a Christian View.

Other streams of reflection

Abraham Kuyper, Prime Minister of the Netherlands at the beginning of the 20th century, sought to ground the life of his nation in a Christian 'worldview' in resistance to an ascendant modernist worldview. His vision is framed in his 'Lectures on Calvinism', which are explored in context by Peter Heslam in his Creating a Christian Worldview (Eerdmans/Paternoster, 1998). Heslam notes the influence on Kuyper of the Scottish James Orr. Kuyper's worldview thinking was developed by Herman Dooyeweerd (see first his brief book In the Twilight of Western Thought, Craig Press, 1968), and also influenced the thinking of Francis Schaeffer (The God Who is There, Hodder & Stoughton, 1968). The Kuyperian or neo-Calvinist stream of scholarship has been sponsored in recent decades by, among other centres, the Institute of Christian Studies, Toronto, Canada. Numbers of young evangelical Christians have been influenced by Brian Walsh & Richard Middleton, The Transforming Vision (IVP, 1984). Also noteworthy are Bob Goudzwaard, Idols of Our Time (IVP, (Eng)1984) and Arthur Holmes, Contours of a Worldview (Eerdmans, 1983). Worldview analysis has also been used by James Sire in his The Universe Next Door (IVP, 1977) and Discipleship of the Mind (IVP, 1990). A useful essay (of wider interest than its title might suggest) is Brian Walsh, Worldviews, Modernity and the Task of Christian College Education.' A reminder of the range of those appreciating Kuyper's heritage today is provided by the recent collection of essays edited by Luis Lugo, Religion, Pluralism and Public Life: Abraham Kuyper's Legacy for the Twenty-First Century (Eerdmans, 2000).

Other streams of reflection are associated with the ecumenical movement at various stages of its history. In the early years of the International Missionary Council, J. H. Oldham was concerned about the loss of spiritual resources, evidenced dramatically by the first world war, in what had been Christendom. Later in the 1930's he saw totalitarianism as a key challenge for mission; in 1939 started his widely distributed Christian News-Letter (see his Supplement No. 0, 'What is a "Christian" Newsletter?'). In the same period W. A. Visser 't Hooft (later, first General Secretary of the World Council of Churches) was already identifying issues of syncretism and neo-paganism which have since become keen issues raised for the Gospel by contemporary Western culture (see for example his 'Evangelism among Europe's Neo-pagans' (International Review of Mission, 66(4), 1977). In the 1990's a WCC Study Programme on Gospel and Culture pursued the vision of a proper contextualisation within world Christianity, in place of domination by Western cultural formulations. A good survey of the process is offered by S. Wesley Ariarajah in Gospel and Culture: an Ongoing Discussion within the Ecumenical Movement (WCC, 1994); another relevant author is Christopher Duraiasingh. More recently the WCC has begun to turn its attention to the challenge of mission to Western culture itself.

The pursuit of a proper contextualisation of the Gospel has been enriched by the insights of anthropology, which itself drew much of its early inspiration from the missionary enterprise; two works are Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (Basic Books, 1973), and Charles Kraft, Christianity in Culture, Orbis 1979. For his part, Newbigin addressed issues of contextualisation in his The Open Secret (Eerdmans, 1978). For illuminating debate between Newbigin and Konrad Raiser (President, WCC) on mission and the truth of the Gospel within the vision of ecumenism see Newbigin, Ecumenical Amnesia, International Bulletin of Missionary Research, 18(1), 1994 and the ensuing exchanges.

Returning to the 1930's, in Germany itself Christian resistance to cultural and ideological capture of the church was resisted by Karl Barth and the Niebuhr brothers among other people; the Barmen Declaration (1934) by the Confessing Church is a well-known expression of this resistance. Although Richard H. Niebuhr's Christ and Culture (Harper, 1951) has long been a standard reference book for mainstream liberal protestants, and interpreted in a standard liberal fashion, Niebuhr was originally impelled in the 1930's by the a same resistance to a culturally compromised church, while J. H. Oldham later commended his 1943 essay Faith in Gods and in God as 'one of the most illuminating expositions of the contemporary religious situation that I have ever met with'.

Richard Niebuhr's Christ and Culture met with fierce criticism from anabaptist John Howard Yoder in a 1958 essay which has been published only more recently (together with other useful discussions of Niebuhr and Yoder) in Stassen, Yeager and Yoder, Authentic Transformation (Abingdon, 1996).

Yoder's anabaptist tradition of the radical reformation is today making a significant contribution to Gospel & Culture reflection as Christians are increasingly confronted with the question of distinctively Christian identity in the midst of a culture turning away from this. One such contribution is made by Wilbert Shenk, who has headed up an international Missiology of Western Culture project from whose international consultations has come the volume To Stake A Claim. Shenk also co-edits for the Institute of Mennonite Studies a series of slim volumes on Christian Mission and Modern Culture. His own title in this series is Write the Vision (Trinity Press International/Gracewing, 1995); other authors in the series include Newbigin, David Bosch, and Lamin Sanneh. Among other authors informed by similar perspectives are Stanley Hauerwas, John Douglas Hall, and Nancy Murphy. Anabaptist insights also contribute strongly in Rodney Clapp, A Peculiar People (IVP, 1996); they also make a significant contribution to the reflections of the North American Gospel and Our Culture Network.

Turning to the Roman Catholic Church, Michael Paul Gallagher, S..J., Clashing Symbols (Darton, Longman & Todd, 1997) offers a good introduction to reflection on faith and culture within this historic church and beyond. Of relevance in recent Catholic thinking are the encyclicals by John Paul II Centesimus annus and Veritatis splendor. There is also today a significant ressourcement tradition which draws with appreciation from the legacy of, among others, authors Henri de Lubac and Hans Urs von Balthasar. The journal Communio reflects this tradition, in which a key figure is David Schindler. Good on de Lubac is J. A. Komonchak, Theology and Culture at Mid-Century: the Example of Henri De Lubac,* Theological Studies, 51 (1990).

Other Gospel & Culture reflection has been pursued in recent decades among U.S. evangelical Christians who are concerned that their tradition has too indiscriminately followed current modern and postmodern trends. Os Guinness, author of The Dust of Death (IVP, 1973) and The Gravedigger File (Hodder & Stoughton, 1983) has continued to write lively pieces pursuing this concern; other relevant authors include Mark Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, (Eerdmans/IVP, 1994); David Wells, No Place for Truth (Eerdmans, 1993) and God in the Wasteland (Eerdmans/IVP, 1994); Thomas Oden (Agenda for Theology, Harper & Row, 1979), and Leander Keck, The Church Confident (Abingdon, 1993). 'No God but God: Breaking with the Idols of Our Age' (Moody, 1992) is another lively collection of polemical essays edited by Os Guinness and John Seel.

Among those writing on Christian spirituality are some who have a deep sense of contemporary cultural issues. Noteworthy is James Houston, The Hungry Soul (originally published as The Heart's Desire; Lion, 1992). Similarly among Biblical scholars; for example, Walter Brueggemann in The Prophetic Imagination (Fortress, 1978) and The Bible and the Postmodern Imagination (SCM, 1993)) speaks well to cultural issues today. Tom Wright draws valuably upon worldview analysis in his The New Testament and the People of God (SPCK, 1992) - see especially Chapter Five. At a more academic level is the Scripture and Hermeneutics series of books currently published by Paternoster under the general editorship of Craig Bartholomew.

Looking back over the twentieth century we see lay authors who have been theologically awake and  discerning towards culture in a prophetic way. Among them have been J. H. Oldham (already mentioned), G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers and Jacques Ellul. The excesses of political correctness today were already engaged by C. S. Lewis in his critique of educational trends in The Abolition of Man (Bless, 1946). Lewis influenced, among many, Harry Blamires whose most well known book, The Christian Mind, has been followed more recently by The Post-Christian Mind.

'Postmodernity' is of course a phenomenon calling for Christian cultural discernment at the turn of the third millennium. Relevant here is the theological work of the 'radical orthodoxy group'; John Milbank's seminal Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason (Blackwell, 1990) has been followed by John Milbank, Catherine Pickstock & Graham Ward (eds), Radical Orthodoxy: A New Theology (Routledge, 1998).Of many Christian books on postmodernity, four good titles are David Lyon, Jesus in Disneyland: Religion in Postmodern Times (Polity Press, 2000); Edward Farley, Deep Symbols: Their Postmodern Effacement and Reclamation (Trinity Press International, 1996); Richard Middleton & Brian Walsh, Truth Is Stranger Than It Used to Be (SPCK, 1995); and (somewhat more academic) Roger Lundin, The Culture of Interpretation: Christian Faith and the Postmodern World (Eerdmans, 1993). For other titles see the section below on postmodernity.


A short list of miscellaneous other 'popular' books offering useful Gospel & Culture reflection:

Terence Copley, Indoctrination, Education and God, SPCK, 2005

Martyn Eden and David Wells (eds), The Gospel in the Modern World , IVP, 1991

John Habgood, Varieties of Unbelief, Darton Longman & Todd, 2000

J. Andrew Kirk, Loosing the Chains, Hodder & Stoughton, 1992

Kenneth Leech, The Sky is Red, Darton Longman & Todd, 1997

Roy McCloughry, Living in the Presence of the Future, IVP, 2000

Peter C. Moore, Disarming the Secular Gods, IVP, 1989

Meic Pearse, Why the Rest Hates the West, SPCK, 2003

Martin Robinson & Dwight Smith, Invading Secular Space, Monarch, 2003

Philip Sampson, Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden (eds), Faith and Modernity, Regnum Lynx, 1994

Andrew Walker, Telling the Story, SPCK, 1996

Tom Wright, New Tasks for a Renewed Church, Hodder & Stoughton, 1992




Various organisations around Britain engage is mission to contemporary culture and promote reflection on this task. Lectures, projects and study resources are offered by the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity <www.licc.org.uk>; the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture (Regent's Park College, Oxford) runs public lectures series each university term; this is anabaptist-informed, as is the Anvil Trust <www.anvil.org> and its workshops. The G. K. Chesterton Institute for Faith and Culture <www.secondspring.co.uk> in Oxford is informed by the Roman Catholic communio movement. A project working from a large community church in Southampton with young adults and engaging popular culture from a Christian perspective is the Damaris Project <www.damaris.org>. The Kuyperian tradition is well resourced by the book service offered by The Christian Studies Unit, c/o Rev'd Richard Russell, 76, Waterside Way, Westfield, Radstock, Bath BA3 3YQ. Also in this tradition is the West Yorkshire School of Christian Studies <www.wysocs.org.uk>, which runs conferences, seminars and a gap year project. Another regional initiative is Court Oak Gospel and Culture Forum, which organises events around Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham. The Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture (based in the School of Education at Kings College, London) is partner with Ship of Fools <http://ship-of-fools.com> in running virtual seminars. Dr Stephen Holmes heads up a project on the Theology of Culture in the department of Theology and Religious Studies at Kings College, London. Theology through the Arts is directed by Dr Jeremy Begbie and has bases in Ridley Hall, Cambridge and the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Applied theology can be pursued in M.A. Courses at, for example, the Cambridge Federation of Theological Colleges and the University of Kent. David Clark Co-ordinates Christians in Public Life, which is based at Westhill College, Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 6LL. Newman College, Birmingham offers an M.A. in Theology & Culture. The Launcelot Fleming Lecture Series is an annual series of four public lectures sponsored jointly by Norwich Cathedral and the University of East Anglia addressing 'issues of seminal significance to the understanding of human existence within western society'. This is only a brief selection from around Britain.

A popular magazine which regularly engages Gospel and culture themes is Third Way; another is Bible Society's magazine Bible in TransMission. Overseas, four other such popular-style magazines are First Things and Sojourners (both U.S.), and Zadok Perspectives (Australia). Relevant newsletters include those of the British and the North American Gospel and Our Culture Networks, New Zealand's DeepSight newsletter New Slant, and Australia's Auburn Report.


Some internet web-site addresses:

http://www.gospel-culture.org.uk (Gospel and Our Culture Network, U.K.)

http://www.deepsight.org (New Zealand's Religion and Cultures network)

http://www.gocn.org (North America's Gospel and Our Culture network)

http://www.newbigin.net (searchable database)

U.K.-based sites:

http://www.damaris.org (the Damaris Project)

http://www.licc.org.uk (The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity)

http://www.thirdway.org.uk (Third Way magazine)

http://www.agoraspace.org (AGORA: resources for engaging public issues)

http://www.wysocs.org.uk (West Yorkshire School of Christian Studies) 

http://www.martynmission.cam.ac.uk (the Henry Martyn Centre for the Study of Mission and World Christianity, Cambridge. Many international links)

http://www.secondspring.co.uk (the G. K. Chesterton Institute for Faith and Culture, Oxford)

http://www.anvil.org.uk (the Anvil Trust)

http://www.biblesociety.org.uk (the Resources page offers an archive of articles published in The Bible in TransMission)

http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/whitefield (Whitefield Institute, Cambridge)

http://www.rpc.ox.ac.uk/index_ccc.htm (Centre for Christianity and Culture, Regent's Park College, Oxford)

http://www.maranathacommunity.org.uk (Maranatha Community, U.K.)

http://www.counterculture.org.uk (sponsored by CARE)


http://www.ctbi.org.uk/ccom (the Churches' Commission on Mission)

http://www.xiancomm.org.uk (The Centre for Christian Communication, Durham)

http://www.christian.org.uk (the Christian Institute: Influencing Public Policy)

http://www.stapleford-centre.org (working in education)

http://www.focus.org.uk/resource.htm (a Christian response to postmodernity)

U.S. -based sites:

http://www.firstthings.com (First Things: Richard Neuhaus edits this magazine) 

http://www.marshillaudio.org (Mars Hill Audio Journal)

http://www.pubtheo.com (Center for Public Theology)

http://www.sojo.net (Sojourners magazine)

Canada-based sites:

http://www.culturalrenewal.ca (Centre for Cultural Renewal)

Australia-based sites

http://www.zadok.org.au (Zadok Institute for Christianity and Society) 

http://www.shootthemessenger.com.au (Christian reflection on popular culture)

C. Making connections

Missionary encounter with culture leads us to traverse many fields of study and practice, bringing its own vital questions to the fore. These fields overlap in various ways; some are explicitly religious, others are not. They fall roughly into four categories: (1) cultural studies of one kind and another (2) diverse established modern areas of academic study, (3) the study of church and mission, and (4) theological study.

(1) Among cultural studies pressing for engagement are those concerned with modernity and postmodernity, some general works of cultural criticism, studies of popular culture, of consumerism, and the cultural role of the mass media. Also in this connection arise issues of culturally informed spirituality on the one hand and on the other, concerns for public life and the public good, ethics and the moral fabric of civil society. Related here are concerns for the form of society and in particular the embodiment of human freedom and relationship through personal participation in intermediate structures, tradition and 'canon'. These concerns are also directed towards prevailing ideologies which both shape and legitimise political practice and 'official' public discourse - in particular the ideology of 'global market' capitalism on the one hand and the ideology connected with 'political correctness' on the other. All of these cultural issues affect the 'culture' of (among others) education, health care and legal practice.

(2) Among established modern areas of academic study inviting engagement are the natural sciences, the arts, and history; the human sciences of psychology and sociology, including the study of religion which they undertake in their own terms; and the newer disciplines of technology, environmental studies and gender studies.

(3) Missiology and ecclesiology: the pursuit of authentic missionary encounter with our culture connects naturally both with strategic mission planning and activity, and also with the study of mission, or missiology. It also connects with church strategies and with ecclesiology - with reflection on the nature of the Church and of its calling to unique responsibility within the mission of God.

(4) Theology: lastly, it is vital that theological reflection should deeply permeate all of the above engagements or intersections with other fields of study and practice. Central will be public theology, mission theology, contextual theology, and theological epistemology and anthropology.


Each of these of these fields is considered in more detail below.


(1) Making connections: Cultural studies


Apart from studies concerned with the broad themes of modernity and postmodernity, some other works of cultural criticism provide valuable resources for reflection on the engagement between the Gospel and culture. Among key authors are American cultural critics Christopher Lasch, David Riesman, Richard Sennett, Charles Taylor and Richard Stivers. Commendable are Christopher Lasch (The Culture of Narcissism, Norton, 1979; The Minimal Self, Norton, 1984); David Riesman (The Lonely Crowd, Yale University Press, 1961); and Richard Sennett (The Fall of Public Man, Knopf, 1977) Also important is Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor's The Ethics of Authenticity (Harvard University Press, 1992) - a shorter version of his Sources of the Self. A good review article on the former is M. B. Poirier, 'Reassessing the Modern Era', (Modern Age, Spring 1993). None of the above are formulated in explicitly Christian terms; in contrast, from Britain, is Rowan Williams' valuable Lost Icons, T&T Clark, 2000, and also Tim Gorringe's Furthering Humanity: A Theology of Culture, Ashgate, 2004.

Christian engagement with popular culture is pursued by authors including notably Graham Cray, magazines including Third Way, Sojourners and Zadok Perspectives, and by organisations with a web presence including Damaris and shootthemessenger. Among more specific studies in popular culture is Stephen May, Stardush and Ashes: Science Fiction in Christian Perspective, SPCK, 1998. Different and entertaining is Faith Popcorn, The Popcorn Report, Arrow, 1991, who offers stimulating insights into emerging trends in culture of interest for marketing purposes. Consumerism is an important theme in its own right; among Christian books on this are John F. Kavanaugh, (Still) Following Christ in a Consumer Society, Orbis, 1981 & 1991, and Rodney Clapp (ed), The Consuming Passion: Christianity and the Consumer Culture, IVP (U.S.), 1998. Valuable but not written from a Christian perspective is the collection of essays edited by Russell Keat, Nigel Whiteley and Nicholas Abercrombie, The Authority of the Consumer, Routledge, 1994. The cultural role of the mass media is probed by, for example, Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death, Methuen, 1985).

Spirituality: since the 'secular sixties' there has been a resurgence of interest in 'spirituality' associated with New Age beliefs and spreading beyond these. Books on this include Lawrence Osborn, Angels of Light. The list of articles on this resource web-page includes a number evaluating contemporary spirituality from a Christian viewpoint. The spirituality of 'Generation X' is admirably explored in Tom Beaudoin, Virtual Faith, Jossey-Bass, 1998Books pursuing an authentic Christian spirituality in the context of Western culture include James Houston, The Hungry Soul, Lion, 1992; and diverse works by Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Esther De Waal, Henri Nouwen and Jean Vanier.

Concern for public values has produced many Christian books addressing specific issues such as sexual morality, the rights of the unborn and euthanasia. Wider in scope are books concerned with public life and the public good, and the ethical and moral fabric of civil society. These include Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue, University of Notre Dame Press, 1981; Jonathan Sacks, The Persistence of Faith: Religion, Morality and Society in a Secular Age, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1991; and some of Peter Berger's later writings.


Four vital theological engagements with the public domain are:

David Fergusson, Community, Liberalism and Christian Ethics, Cambridge University Press, 1998

Oliver O'Donovan, The Desire of the Nations, Cambridge University Press, 1996

David Schindler, Heart of the World, Center of the Church: Communion Ecclesiology, Liberalism and Liberation, Eerdmans/T&T Clark, 1996

Rowan Williams, Lost Icons, T&T Clark, 1996


Modern societies have been widely characterised by a polarisation between individual and state (or today between consumer and corporate system) with the erosion of intermediate structures, their traditions and 'canons'.

These concerns are also directed towards prevailing ideologies which shape and/or legitimise political practice and the 'official' public discourse which it sponsors. On the one hand recent decades have seen the ascendancy of the ideology of 'global market' capitalism; this theme may be treated under Christian faith and economics.

Frequently in tension with this is the ideology directing 'political correctness'. Relevant here are critiques of postmodern relativism. More specific to the theme are Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind, Penguin, 1987; Bruce Wilshire, The Moral Collapse of the University, State University of New York Press, 1990; Alain Finkielkraut, The Undoing of Thought, Claridge Press, 1988. Telling analysis is offered by David Bromwich in Politics By Other Means: Higher Education and Group Thinking, Yale University Press, 1992 - see especially Chapter One: The New Fundamentalists. In Britain, journalist Melanie Phillips has attacked 'pc' trends in All Shall Have Prizes , Little Brown, 1996 and in The Corruption of Liberalism, Centre for Policy Studies, 1997; while Roger Scruton inveighs against these trends as editor of The Salisbury Review. One element within 'pc' discourse is the supremacy of 'rights' language over other elements in a richer discourse of justice; the distorting effects of this in the U.S. are analysed by Mary Ann Glendon in Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse, Free Press, 1991.

All of these cultural issues affect the 'culture' of (among other professions) education, health care and legal practice, in which contexts they call for Christian engagement.



(2) Making connections: established modern areas of academic study

Modern academic disciplines have a cultural and historical character and when they are engaged within the context of God's purposes this brings certain questions to the fore. On the one hand the academic disciplines offer new perspectives upon God's world and upon the manner in which God's purposes are mediated within it; on the other hand their proper context lies in God's purposes and they are to challenged if they transgress their limits and become reductionist 'isms' implicitly claiming for themselves an absolute, religious character.

Academic disciplines calling for engagement include the natural sciences, the arts, and history; the human sciences of psychology and sociology, including the study of religion which they undertake in their own terms, and economics. Among sociological studies of religion some are more statistical, some more qualitative; among the latter are David Hay and Kate Hunt, Understanding the Spirituality of People who don't go to Church, Centre for the Study of Human Relations, University of Nottingham, 2000; and research currently in hand by Linda Woodhead at Lancaster University; but see also authors in (3) below. Among significant recent books are Callum Brown, The Death of Christian Britain, Routledge, 2001; and Steve Bruce, God is Dead, Blackwell, 2002; and Grace Davie, Religion in Modern Europe, Oxford University Press, 2000.

Other, newer disciplines calling for engagement include technology, environmental studies and gender studies.



(3) Making connections: Missiology and ecclesiology

The pursuit of authentic missionary encounter with our culture connects naturally with strategies for mission and for managing church life and growth, with the former often framed in terms of the latter. Corresponding to these at a more reflective and theoretical level are the study of mission, or missiology, and ecclesiology.

Among many 'popular' publications concerned with strategies for mission and church life, notable at a popular level is Robert Warren's brief Building Missionary Congregations, Church of England Board of Mission, 1995. Management and marketing insights are combined with sociological analysis by authors such as Peter Brierley (Director of Christian Research) in titles including Future Church, by Robin Gill (see for example his A Vision for Growth, SPCK, 1994), and by publications from the Church Growth Association. Other relevant titles include:

Graham Cray (chair of working group), Mission-Shaped Church, Church House Publishing, 2004

Mike Riddell, Threshold to the Future, Triangle, 1998

Eddie Gibbs and Ian Coffey, Church Next, IVP, 2002

John Finney, Finding Faith Today, Bible Society, 1992

John Clarke, Evangelism that really works, SPCK, 1995

Loren Mead, The Once and Future Church, Alban Institute, 1996

Stanley Hauerwas, Resident Aliens, Abingdon, 1989

John Drane, Evangelism for a New Age, Marshall Pickering, 1994

Lyle E. Schaller, 21 Bridges to the 21st Century, Abingdon, 1994 (and other titles).


Also relevant here the series of books emanating from the Gospel and Our Culture network in North America and mentioned in Section B above, published by Eerdmans: The Church Between Gospel and Culture, Missional Church, Confident Witness - Changing World, and The Continuing Conversion of the Church, and Stormfront: The Good News of God.

Outstanding in the field of missiology is David Bosch, Transforming Mission, Orbis, 1991; essays by Andrew Walls collected together in The Missionary Movement in Christian History ,T&T Clark, 1996, and more recently in The Cross Cultural Process in Christian History, T&T Clark, 2002; and Lesslie Newbigin's The Open Secret, Eerdmans, 1978.

A fine theological study on the meaning of evangelism is William Abraham, The Logic of Evangelism, Hodder & Stoughton, 1989.



(4) Making connections: Theology

Lastly, but first in importance, it is of course vital that theological reflection should deeply permeate all of the above engagements or intersections with other fields of study and practice. Central will be public theology, mission theology, contextual theology, and theological epistemology and anthropology. Among the theologians mentioned above are Lesslie Newbigin, Oliver O'Donovan, David Fergusson, David Schindler, Henri De Lubac, Rowan Williams, Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Alan Torrance, Jeremy Begbie, Others of vital importance for their theological engagement with culture include Colin Gunton, David Ford, Ellen Charry, and Daniel Hardy.

Back to the Gospel and Culture homepage


Reading lists on selected topics: Index

Christian faith and the arts
Christian faith and business, economics and the social order
Christian faith and education
Christian faith and the environment
Christian faith and gender issues
Christian faith and postmodernity
Christian faith and psychology
Christian faith and science
Christian faith and technology

Christian faith and the arts

The Visual Arts
Calvin Seerveld, Rainbows for the Fallen World, Toronto Tuppence Press, 1980
Jeremy Begbie, Voicing Creation's Praise, T&T Clark, 1991
Nicholas Wolterstorff, Art in Action, Eerdmans, 1980
Hans Rookmaker, Modern Art and the Death of a Culture, IVP, 1970

Ian Maher, Reel Issues: Engaging Film and Faith, Bible Society, 1999
Michael Medved, Hollywood vs. America, HarperCollins, 1992

David Jasper, The Study of Literature and Religion, Macmillan, 1992
Paul Fiddes, Freedom and Limit: a Dialogue between Literature and Christian Doctrine, Macmillan, 1991
Leland Ryken, Roger Pooley, David Barratt (eds), The Discerning Reader, Apollos, 1995
Michael Edwards, Towards a Christian Poetics, Macmillan, 1984
David Lyle Jeffrey, A Dictionary of Biblical tradition in English Literature, Eerdmans/Gracewing, 1992
George Steiner, Real Presences, Faber & Faber, 1989
Vaclac Havel, Living in Truth, Faber & Faber, 1986
Owen Barfield, The Rediscovery of Meaning and other essays, Wesleyan University Press, 1977
Robert Detweiler, Breaking the Fall, Macmillan 1989
John Coulson, Religion and Imagination, Oxford, 1981
Nathan Scott, Poetics of Belief, University of North Carolina Press, 1985
Helen Gardner, Religion and Literature, Faber, 1971
T. R. Wright, Theology and Literature, Basil Blackwell, 1988

back to topic index

Christian faith and business, economics and the social order.

Bob Goudzwaard, Harry de Lange, Beyond Poverty and Affluence, WCC/Eerdmans, 1991
Jane Collier and Rafael Esteban, From Complicity to Encounter: The Church and the Culture of Economism. Trinity Press International, 1998
John Atherton, Christianity and the Market, SPCK, 1992
John Davies, World on Loan, Bible Society, 1993
Alan Storkey, A Christian Social Perspective, IVP, 1979

Two classics are: R. H. Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism, 1928
William Temple, Christianity and the Social Order, Penguin, 1942

Strong Christian opposition to 'free market' ideology is found in:
Ulrich Duchrow, Global Economy: A Confessional Issue for the Churches?, WCC Publications, 1987
Duchrow, Ulrich. 1995. Alternatives to Global Capitalism.

International Books with Kairos Europa.
Gary J. Dorrien, Reconstructing the Common Good: Theology and the Social Order, Orbis, 1990
Grieder, William. 1997. One world, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global capitalism. New York: Simon & Schuster. Korten, David C. 1996(Pbk).
When Corporations Rule the World. USA: Kumarian Press & Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Robertson, James. 1990.
Future Wealth. London:Cassell Visser't Hooft Memorial Consultation Report. 1993.
Sustainable Growth � A contradiction in terms? Geneva: The Visser't Hooft Endowment Fund for Leadership Development. Available from the World Council of Churches.

The standard Christian defence of 'free market' ideology is:
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, American Enterprise Institute/Simon & Schuster, 1982

A general book on contemporary economic issues is:
Will Hutton, The State We're In, Jonathan Cape, 1995

A study on the personal effects of recent trends in business practice is:
Richard Sennett, The Corrosion of Character, W. W. Norton, 1998

Collier, Jane, Contemporary culture and the role of economics, in Hugh Montefiore (ed), The Gospel and Contemporary Culture, SPCK [[email protected]], 1992, pp.103-128
Craig Gay, 'An Ironic Cage': the Rationalisation of Modern Economic Life', in Sampson, Samuel and Sugden (eds), Faith and Modernity, Regnum Lynx, 1994, pp252-272
Lesslie Newbigin, The Welfare State - A Christian Perspective, Oxford Institute for Church and Society, 1985

back to topic index

Christian faith and education

Introductory Reading
Cooling,T. (1994). A Christian vision for state education. London: SPCK.
MacKenzie,P., Farnell, A., Holt, A., & Smith, D. (1997).

Entry points for Christian reflection within education.
London: CARE for Education. Roques, M. (1989).
Curriculum unmasked: Towards a Christian understanding of education. Sutherland: Albatross.
Shortt, J., & Cooling, T. (Eds.). (1997). Agenda for educational change. Leicester: Apollos.

Further Reading:
Anderson,W. E. (1983). 'A Biblical view of education'. Journal of Christian Education, 77.
Brueggemann,W. (1982). The creative word: Canon as a model for biblical education. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
Carey, G., Hope, D. And Hall, J. (1998). A Christian voice in education: Distinctiveness in Church schools. London: National Society/Church House.
Fowler,S., van Brummelen, H., & van Dyk, J. (1990). Christian schooling: Education for freedom. Potchefstroom: Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education.
Francis,L., & Thatcher, A. (Eds.). (1990). Christian perspectives for education: a reader in the theology of education. Leominster: Gracewing.
Lambert,I., & Mitchell, S. (Eds.). (1997). The crumbling walls of certainty: Towards a Christian critique of postmodernity and education. Sydney: Centre for the Study of Australian Christianity.
Melchert,C. F. (1998). Wise teaching: Biblical wisdom and educational ministry. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International.
Palmer,P. J. (1998). The courage to teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher's life. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Schwehn,M. (1993). Exiles from Eden: Religion and the academic vocation in America. New York: Oxford University Press.
Smith,D. (1995). Christian thinking in education reconsidered. Spectrum, 25(1), 9-24.
Stronks,G. G., & Blomberg, D. (Eds.). (1993). A vision with a task: Christian schooling for responsive discipleship. Grand Rapids: Baker.
Thiessen, E. J. (1990 [1985]). 'A defense of a distinctively Christian curriculum'. In L. J. Francis & A. Thatcher (Eds.), Christian Perspectives for Education (pp. 83-92). Leominster: Gracewing.

Journal of Education and Christian Belief (Paternoster Periodicals, PO Box 300, Carlisle, Cumbria CA3 0QS)
Journal of Research on Christian Education (Information Services Building, Suite 211, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI 49104-1800, USA)
Journal of Christian Education (PO Box 139, Lidcombe, NSW 2141, Australia)

Websites: http://www.stapleford-centre.org

back to topic index

Christian faith and the environment

Robin Attfield, The Ethics of Environmental Concern, Blackwell, 1993
Tim Cooper, Green Christianity, Spire, 1990
Douglas John Hall, Imaging God: Dominion as Stewardship, Eerdmans, 1986
James Nash, Loving Nature, Abingdon, 1993
Michael Northcott, The Environment and Christian Ethics, Cambridge University Press, 1996
Lawrence Osborn, Guardians of Creation, Apollos, 1993
Larry Rassmussen, Earth Community, Earth Ethics, Orbis, 1996
Sachs, W., Loske, R., Linz, M. et al. 1998.
Greening the North. A Post-Industrial Blueprint for Ecology and Equity. London: Zed books

On animal welfare see:
Andrew Lindzey, Animal Theology, SCM, 1996

A feminist but less orthodox book is:
Rosemary Radford Ruether, Gaia and God: an ecofeminist theology of earth healing, SCM, 1993

For another Christian evaluation of Gaia see:
Lawrence Osborn, 'The Machine and the Mother Goddess: The Gaia Hypothesis in Contemporary Scientific and Religious Thought', in Science and Christian Belief, Vol 4, No.1, 1992

back to topic index

Christian faith and gender issues

Introductory reading
New International Version Womens' Bible (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1997). Inclusive language translation, with introductory notes. Other inclusive translations are NRSV, Good News 2nd edition (1994), and Contemporary English Version.
Mary Evans, Woman in the Bible (Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1983 and reprints). A valuable, detailed and objective treatment of Old and New Testament texts and their cultural background.
Michele Guinness, Is God good for Women? (Hodder & Stoughton, 1997) Does God have a down on women? Responding to some who think so, this book highlights women who have challenged the norm and broken new ground.
Gretchen Gaebelein Hull, Equal to Serve: Women and Men in the Church and Home (London: SU, 1989). Recommended for its combination of personal experience, biblical insight and scholarship, and useful appendices on 'headship' and the 'hard' passages.
Elaine Storkey, What's Right with Feminism? (SPCK, 1985- updated edition expected soon). A summary of the roots and subsequent routes of secular feminism, and a well-argued plea for an informed biblical feminism.
Elaine Storkey & Margaret Hebblethwaite, Conversations on Christian Feminism (Fount, 1999). A 'conversation' between these two thinkers and writers on issues touched by Christian feminism, such as language, a male saviour, the Bible, the mother of Jesus, abortion, and worship.

Further reading
Richard Bauckham, Is the Bible Male?: The Book of Ruth and Biblical Narrative (Cambridge: Grove Books, 1996). A response to feminist challenge on the male perspective of Scripture; useful introduction to some of the issues, and looks at the book's distinctive womens' perspective.
Anne Borrowdale, Distorted Images: Christian Attitudes to Women, Men and Sex (London: SPCK, 1991). Looks at how women are often falsely idealised as well as denigrated, how images of men also become distorted, and at consequences such as stereotyping, pornography and sexual violence.
Mary Stewart van Leeuwen, Gender and Grace: Women and Men in a Changing World (Leicester: IVP, 1990). A thorough and readable examination of gender issues by a psychologist, with insights from biology, sociology, theology and history.
Rosie Nixson, Home is Where the Hurt is: Domestic Violence and the Church's Response (Nottingham: Grove Books, 1994). An introduction to the issues, and practical responses.
Rosie Nixson, Liberating Women for the Gospel: Women in Evangelism (Hodder & Stoughton, October 1997). An exploration of Scripture, history and the contemporary experience of women in all aspects of evangelism including preaching, personal evangelism, the family, and church planting.
Ruth A Tucker, Women in the Maze: Questions and Answers on Biblical Equality (Downers Grove: IVP, 1992). An ideal introduction.

back to topic index

Christian faith and postmodernity

Books on faith and postmodernity:
David Lyon, Jesus in Disneyland: Religion in Postmodern Times, Polity, 2000

Brian Carrell, Moving Between Times. Modernity and Postmodernity: a Christian View, DeepSight (New Zealand), 1998
Edward Farley, Deep Symbols: Their Postmodern Effacement and Reclamation, Trinity Press International, 1996
J. Richard Middleton & Brian J. Walsh, Truth Is Stranger Than It Used to Be: Biblical Faith in a Postmodern Age, InterVarsity Press 1995
Walter Brueggemann, The Bible and the Postmodern Imagination, SCM, 1993

Stanley Grenz, A Primer on Postmodernism, Eerdmans, 1996


A good general introduction to postmodernity is:
David Lyon, Postmodernity, Open University Press 1994

More demanding are:
Zygmunt Bauman, Intimations of Postmodernity, Routledge, 1992
Terry Eagleton, The Illusions of Postmodernism, Blackwells, 1996
Mike Featherstone, Consumer Culture and Post-Modernism, Sage, 1991
David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity, Oxford 1990

Useful articles include:
J. Bottum, 'Christians and Postmoderns', in First Things (New York), no. 40, Feb 1994, pp 28-32.
Graham Cray, From Here to Where? The Culture of the Nineties, Board of Mission of the Church of England, 1992
Stanley Grenz, 'Star Trek and the Next Generation: Postmodernism and the Future of Evangelical Theology', in Crux (Vancouver), 30(1), March 1994, pp 24-32.
Robert Jenson, 'How the World Lost Its Story', in First Things (New York), no. 36, October 1993, pp 19-24.
David Kettle, 'Bearings on the Sea of Faith', in Leading Light, Vol.2/2, Autumn 1995
Jock MacGregor, 'Madonna: Our Lady of Meaninglessness', in Gospel and Culture (U.K.), no. 20, Spring 1994, pp 1-4.

back to topic index

Christian faith and psychology

Some good general introductory books on the interface (and points of tension) between psychology and Christianity are:
Don Browning, Religious Thought and the Modern Psychologies - a Critical Conversation in the Theology of Culture, Fortress Press 1987
Roger Hurding, Roots and Shoots: a Guide to Counselling and Psychotherapy, Hodder & Stoughton, 1985
Stanton L. Jones & Richard E. Butman, Modern Psychotherapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal, InterVarsity Press, 1991
David Myers, Psychology through the Eyes of Faith, Apollos, 1991
Malcolm Jeeves, Psychology and Christianity: the View Both Ways, InterVarsity Press, 1976 (see also his Human Nature at the Millennium: Reflections on the Integration of Psychology and Christianity, Apollos, 1997)

Further reading:
Kenneth Leech, Soul Friend: a Study of Spirituality, Sheldon Press, 1977. Leech identifies the points at which the disciplines of counselling, therapy and spiritual direction resemble each other and where they differ.
Paul Vitz, Psychology as Religion: the cult of self-worship, Paternoster/Eerdmans, (2nd Edition) 1994.

A readable account of the influential ideology of 'selfism':
Christopher Lasch, The Minimal Self:

How life in contemporary western culture shapes our psychology:
W. W.Norton, 1984, Psychic Survival in Troubled Times.

Philip Rieff, The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud, University of Chicago Press, 1966 is harder going, but perceptive on psychological theories and our culture.

Christopher Bryant, Jung and the Christian Way, Darton Longman & Todd, 1983. The Jungian perspective has been influential in Christian counselling and spirituality, especially in the United States, but requires discernment.

James Houston, The Hungry Soul: What we long for and why it matters, Lion, 1992. Part One is Chasing the Wind: The Distortions of desire Today; Part Two, Breaking the Spell: the Promise of Christian Spirituality.

Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, The Sorcerer's Apprentice: A Christian Looks at the Changing Face of Psychology, InterVarsity Press, 1982 offers lucid analysis

A good example of the incorporation of psychological insights into an evangelical Christian framework is Larry Crabb, Finding God, Zondervan, 1993 (book and video).

Paul Tournier, The Meaning of Persons, Harper, 1957 is a classic.

Two titles written from an Object relations perspective are in many ways an answer to Freud's negative conception of the function of religious faith in a person's psyche: Ann-Marie Rizuto, The Birth of the Living God, Chicago University Press, 1979, and W. W. Meissner, Psychoanalysis and Religious Experience, Yale University Press, 1984

Two titles written from the perspective of developmental psychology are: J. Fowler, Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning, Harper Row, 1981 (a widely used work), and D. Hay and R. Nye, The Spirit of the Child, HarperCollins, 1998 (new research into the nature of spirituality in children, and its implications for religious education)

Frazer Watts & Mark Williams, The Psychology of Religious Knowing, Geoffrey Chapman, 1988, is written from the perspective of cognitive psychology.

The following two textbooks are not written from a Christian perspective. They both attempt a comprehensive overview of the various psychological treatments of religion (concerned with, for example, conversion, fundamentalism, and religious experience): R. W. Hood Jnr, B. Spilka, B. Hunsberger, & R. Gorsuch, The Psychology of Religion, Guildford Press, 1996 C. D. Batson, P. Schoenrade, & W. Ventis, Religion and the Individual: A Social Psychological Perspective, Oxford University Press, 1996.

back to topic index

Christian faith and science

Books: more popular
Donald Mackay, The Clockwork Image: a Christian Perspective on Science, InterVarsity Press, 1994 (reprinted 1997)
Russell Stannard, Doing Away with God? Creation and the Big Bang, Marshall Pickering, 1993.
Russell Stannard, Science and Wonders: Conversations about Science and Belief, Faber and Faber, 1996 (based on the BBC Radio 4 series, this book includes conversation with Richard Dawkins, Peter Atkins, Stephen Rose and many others).
John Polkinghorne, Quarks, Chaos and Christianity: Questions to Science and Religion, Triangle, 1994.
Bryan Appleyard, Understanding the Present: Science and the Soul of Modern Man, Pan, 1992.
Michael Poole, A Guide to Science and Belief, Lion, 1990.
Stephen May, Stardust and Ashes: Science Fiction in Christian Perspective, S.P.C.K., 1998.
Angela Tilby, Science and the Soul: New Cosmology, the Self and God, S.P.C.K., 1992.
Arthur Peacocke, God and Science: a Quest for Christian Credibility, SCM, 1996.

Books: more academic
Ian Barbour, Religion in an Age of Science, SCM, 1990.
John Polkinghorne, One World (1986), Science and Creation: The Search for Understanding (1988), and Science and Providence: God's Interaction with the World (1989), all S.P.C.K.
Arthur Peacocke, Theology for a Scientific Age: Being and Becoming - Natural and Divine, Blackwell, 1990.

A Christian perspective on science includes recognition of it as a developing human endeavour in a particular historical and cultural setting. A very readable history of science and in its relation to faith is Colin Russell, Cross Currents: Interactions between Science and Faith, InterVarsity Press, 1985.

Others are: John Hedley Brooke, Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives, Cambridge University Press, 1991. Christopher Kaiser, Creation and the History of Science, Marshall Pickering, 1991.

The argument that historically experimental science has depended for its emergence upon a Christian 'worldview' has been advanced notably by R. Hooykaas, Religion and the Rise of Modern Science, Eerdmans, 1972; see also Harold Turner, The Roots of Science: An Investigative Journey Through the World's Religions (DeepSight, 1998). See also the articles listed below by Michael Foster and by Stanley Jaki. Other works by the latter include: Stanley Jaki, The Purpose of It All, Scottish Academic Press, 1990 Stanley Jaki, The Road to Science and the Ways to God, Scottish Academic Press, 1978.

The idolatrous tendency of 'scientism' - the ideological distortion of science into a 'religion' - is critiqued in lively fashion by Mary Midgley in two books: Science as Salvation, Routledge, 1992. Evolution as Religion: Strange Hopes and Stranger Fears, Methuen, 1985.

The philosophy of science has been greatly enriched by the contribution of Michael Polanyi. His major work is Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy, Routledge, 1958. The best introduction to his thought is Drusilla Scott, Michael Polanyi, S.P.C.K., 1996 Articles etc. (items marked * are obtainable through ACCESS U.K., a service available to subscribers to the newsletter of the Gospel and Our Culture network).

An introduction to the issue of scientism is Mary Midgley's, 'Strange Contest: Science versus Religion', in Hugh Montefiore (ed), The Gospel and Contemporary Culture, Mowbray 1992, pp 40-57.* Midgley is involved in a forthright exchange with the atheist Peter Atkins in Mary Midgley, 'Can Science Save Its Soul?'/Peter Atkins, 'Will Science ever Fail?' in New Scientist, 1st August 1992, pp 24-27, and 8th August 1992, pp 32-35.

The dangerous distortions of modern regimes built on 'scientific materialism' is the theme of Michael Polanyi's 'Science and the Modern Crisis', in Memoirs and Proceedings of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society 86(6), June 1945, pp 107-116.*

On Richard Dawkins, see Michael Poole, 'A critique of aspects of the philosophy and theology or Richard Dawkins', Science and Christian Belief, 1994, 6, pp.41-59; and Dawkins' reply and Poole's final rejoinder in the following issue no.7, pp.45-58.

On the story of Galileo and the church, see Philip Sampson, 'Victim of Spin', Third Way, June 1998, pp.23-26; see also treatment of this in Russell, Brooke, and Stannard (Science and Wonders) above.

On the Gaia hypothesis, see Lawrence Osborn, The Machine and the Mother Goddess: The Gaia Hypothesis in Contemporary Scientific and Religious Thought', Science and Christian Belief, 1992, 4, pp.27-41.

Two pieces concerning the origins of scientific creationism and its spread among evangelical Christians are Martin Noll, 'Thinking about Science', in Martin Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Eerdmans 1994; and Ronald Numbers, 'Creationism in 20th-Century America', in Science, vol.218, November 1982.

Several articles concerned with the Christian belief as the midwife of science are: Christopher Kaiser, 'The Early Christian Belief in Creation: Background for the Origins and Assessment of Modern Western science', Horizons of Biblical Theology 9(2), December 1987, pp 1-30.* M. B. Foster, 'The Christian Doctrine of Creation and the Rise of Modern Natural Science', Mind, 172, October 1934, pp 446-468 (a seminal article, academic, with penetrating insight). Stanley Jaki, 'God and Creation: A Biblical-Scientific Reflection', Theology Today, 30(1), 1973, pp 111-120.

A sample of other, fuller bibliographies on Christianity and science: Steve Bishop, 'Introductory Resources for the Interaction of Science and Christianity', Themelios, Jan 1994, 19(2), pp.16-21 See the bibliography in James Mackay, The Clockwork Image.

back to topic index

Christian faith and technology

Barbour, Ian. 1992. Ethics in an Age of Technology. London: SCM Press
Conway, Ruth. Due 1999. Choices at the Heart of Technology. A Christian Perspective. PA: Trinity Press International
Elliott, Charles. 1988. Signs of Our Times. Marshall Pickering
Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society, Knopf, 1964
Ferguson, Ronald. 1994. Technology at the Crossroads.
The story of the Society, Religion and Technology Project. Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press
Guardini, Romano. 1994. Letters from Lake Como. Explorations in Technology and the Human Race. F. & T. Clark [First published 1923�25]
Lochhead, David. 1997. Shifting Realities. Geneva: World Council of Churches.
Monsma, Stephen (Ed.) 1986. Responsible Technology. A Christian Perspective. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans

Journals, articles and occasional papers
Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education. Spring 1996. No 9. Issue on The Challenge of Technology. National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education, 3700 West Pine Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri 63108
Conway, R. & Watson, B. 1998. 'Green Futures: the Purpose and the Passion the Propels Technology, and the Implications for Religious Education'. British Journal of Religious Education 20:3
Drawing the Line: the Ethics of Biotechnology. 1997. Occasional Paper No.5, Ecumenical Association for Church and Society, Brussels. [inc. select bibliography on Biotechnology]
Gaillardetz, Richard, Doing Liturgy in a Technological Age, Worship, Sept. 1997, pp.429-451
Larsen, J.K. 1989. 'How High-Tech is changing American Society.' in Mangum, John M. (Ed.). The New Faith-Science Debate. Geneva:WCC/Minneapolis:Fortress
Storkey, Alan, Advancing into the Light, Third Way, March 1998, pp.22-24
Waters, Brent. 1990. 'Pilgrims and Progress: Technology and Christian Ethics.' Bulletin of the Centre for Theology and the Natural Sciences 10:4. California. World Student Christian Federation Journal. 1989. Issue on Faith, Science and Technology. Geneva: WSCF.

The Society, Religion and Technology Project of the Church of Scotland have produced discussion sheets on genetic engineering, GM food and human cloning. Their website is http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/srtscot/srtpage3.shtml

General books on the nature of technology , the powerful restructuring of life that it provokes, and our responsibility for it

Popular books:
Appleyard, Bryan. 1999. brave new worlds. London: HarperCollins
Franklin, Ursula. 1992. The Real World of Technology. Ontario: Anansi Press.
Harrison, Mark. 1995. Visions of Heaven and Hell. London: Channel 4 Television.
Hynes, H. Patricia (Ed.). 1989. Reconstructing Babylon. Essays on Women and Technology. London: Earthscan Publications.
Mander, Jerry. 1991. In the Absence of the Sacred. The Failure of Technology & the Survival of the Indian Nations. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books.
Postman, Neil. 1993. Technopoly. The Surrender of Culture to Technology. New York: Vintage books
Pursell, Carroll. 1994. White Heat. London:BBC.
Sachs, Walter. 1989. Technology as a Trojan Horse: On the Archaeology of the Development Idea, Pennsylvania State University.
Slouka, Mark. 1995. War of the Worlds. Cyberspace and the high-tech assault on reality. USA: Basic books 1995/London: Abacus 1996.
Staudenmaier S.J., John M. 1985. Technology's Storytellers: Reweaving the Human Fabric. Cambridge USA: MIT Press
Winner, Langdon. 1986. The Whale and the Reactor. The University of Chicago.

More academic books:
Borgmann, Albert. 1984. Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life: A Philosophical Inquiry. University of Chicago
Bruce, Donald & Ann. 1998. Engineering Genesis. London: Earthscan
Budgett-Meakin, Catherine (Ed.) 1992. Make the Future Work. Appropriate Technology: A Teachers' Guide. Intermediate Technology/Longman Group UK
Grant, George. 1986. Technology and Justice. Ontario: Anansi Press.
Jonas, Hans. 1984. The Imperative of Responsibility University of Chicago.
Noble, David F. 1986. Forces of Production. A Social History of Industrial Automation. Oxford University Press
Noble, David F. 1997. The Religion of Technology. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Pacey, Arnold. 1983. The Culture of Technology. Cambridge, Mass: MIT
Shiva, Vandava. 1989. Staying Alive. London: Zed books.

Song , Robert, Human Genetics: Fabricating the Future, Darton Longman & Todd, 2002

Stivers, Richard, Technology as Magic: the Triumph of the Irrational, Continuum, 1999

Journals, occasional papers and articles:
International Journal of Technology and Design Education. 1994. 4:1 includes: Barnett, Michael. 'Designing the future? Technology, Values and Choice.'
Conway, Ruth. 'Values in Technology Education'
Waks, Leonard J. 1994. 'Value Judgement and Social Action in Technology Studies.' Corner House.
Briefing 1. September 1997. No Patents on Life!
Briefing 10. October 1998. Food? Health? Hope? Genetic Engineering and World Hunger. The Corner House, PO Box 3137, Dorset DT10 1YJ Demos 1994.
Quarterly Issue 4: Liberation technology? [on Information Technology]

back to topic index

Back to the Gospel and our Culture homepage