RSSCambridge Papers

Unity and diversity: the church, race and ethnicity by Sujit Sivasundaram

Unity and diversity: the church, race and ethnicity by Sujit Sivasundaram

  Summary The affirmation of ethnic diversity can give the individual believer and the local congregation a sense of cohesion and belonging. Yet, if ethnicity becomes a primary criterion defining identity, we risk marginalising ethnic minorities. This paper brings the twin principles of unity and diversity to bear on four contexts: the individual Christian, the […]

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Do we need a Christian university? by Nigel Paterson

Do we need a Christian university? by Nigel Paterson

    Summary The concept of a university was substantially a Christian innovation, yet most modern universities are secular institutions. This paper surveys briefly the historical background which shows how this came about and the institutional landscape of higher education today. Next, biblical perspectives applicable to all Christians involved in higher education are explored. At […]

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The Law of Love by David McIlroy

The Law of Love by David McIlroy

    Summary The Bible is clear that to love God involves seeking to be obedient to God. Being God’s people involves seeking to make wise decisions about the way in which God wants us to live. Jesus commands his followers to love God and our neighbours. In working out what that means, followers of […]

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By any other name? ‘Fundamentalist’ and ‘evangelical’ as terms of public discourse by Christopher Watkin

By any other name? ‘Fundamentalist’ and ‘evangelical’ as terms of public discourse by Christopher Watkin

  Summary Whatever the words ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘evangelical’ may once have meant, their current use in public discourse is largely negative, save notable references to ‘evangelical social action’. Any adequate response to this situation must include a recognition of the different historical provenances of the two terms, and an understanding of their current public usage. […]

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Promises, promises by Caroline Eade

Promises, promises by Caroline Eade

  Summary We all make promises, whether informally, to our friends and family, or formally, in contracts, deeds and vows. Promises are made by companies, governments and international leaders. It seems obvious that a promise carries moral weight. Nevertheless, all of us make rash agreements, or over-commit ourselves, or entirely forget what we have said, […]

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The window is closed by Margaret Wilson

The window is closed by Margaret Wilson

Summary This paper takes up the story of Western art from the end of the nineteenth century.[4] It explores the move from realism and representation towards abstraction, the cultural influences on this move, and the purposes which this new art may pursue. It traces the development of painting in the first half of the twentieth […]

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Christian responses to Islam, Islamism and ‘Islamic terrorism’ by Colin Chapman

Christian responses to Islam, Islamism and ‘Islamic terrorism’ by Colin Chapman

  Summary Why is it that some Muslims become Islamists and some Islamists turn to violence? A summary of some basic convictions held in varying degrees by all Muslims is followed by an explanation of how Islamists have developed these ideas in response to various challenges (especially political) of the modern world. This analysis brings […]

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How to create a relational society: Foundations for a new social order by Michael Schluter

How to create a relational society: Foundations for a new social order by Michael Schluter

    Summary In an earlier Cambridge Paper (September 2006), a biblical ‘Charter for Humanity’ was proposed within a ‘relational framework’. This second paper seeks to answer the question, ‘How do we move towards relational well-being?’ The place where the Bible sets out the foundations required to create a society of right relationships in terms […]

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A Burning Issue: Christian care for the environment by Robert White

A Burning Issue: Christian care for the environment by Robert White

Summary God created a world which he pronounced was very good and delegated to humankind the responsibility for its care. But human sinfulness has marred God’s creation and our profligate abuse of the environment is causing global climate change. If left unchecked global warming will cause global economic loss, widespread suffering and death, particularly among […]

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What charter for humanity? Defining the destination of ‘development’ by Michael Schluter

What charter for humanity? Defining the destination of ‘development’ by Michael Schluter

  Summary The word ‘development’ describes a journey of economic and social change, but is often implicitly taken to define the destination as well. Economic growth is generally regarded as the purpose as well as the means of this social change. However, the biblical emphasis is on the quality of social, political, and economic relationships, […]

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The abolition of the slave trade: Christian conscience and political action by John Coffey

The abolition of the slave trade: Christian conscience and political action by John Coffey

  Summary The year 2007 marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade by the British Parliament. The campaign for abolition was spearheaded by devout Christians, and it stands to this day as perhaps the finest political achievement of what would now be called faith-based activism. But who were the abolitionists, and […]

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Victim chic? The rhetoric of victimhood by Michael Ovey

Victim chic? The rhetoric of victimhood by Michael Ovey

  Summary The rhetoric of victimhood allows us to cast ourselves without qualification as victims, or as saviours of victims, while dramatising our chosen opponents as demonic without qualification. This paper outlines how we sometimes use the role of victim. It analyses the spiritual dangers of manufacturing such blanket identities in relation to usurping God […]

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‘Two guys go into the temple. One says to God…’ Humour, Scripture, and Christian discourse by James and Kate Williams

‘Two guys go into the temple. One says to God…’ Humour, Scripture, and Christian discourse by James and Kate Williams

Summary Godliness and humour have tussled in Christian history. There is more humour in the Bible than flat readings in contemporary churches might suggest. It has didactic and social functions within the larger comic framework of salvation history. We visit the shape of creation–fall–redemption to see the perversions of humour and its redeemed uses in […]

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Co-belligerence and common grace: Can the enemy of my enemy be my friend? by Daniel Strange

Co-belligerence and common grace: Can the enemy of my enemy be my friend? by Daniel Strange

  Summary Co-belligerence describes the activity of Christians working together with non-Christians for a common political, economic or cultural cause. This paper explores one biblical argument on the legitimacy of co-belligerence: the doctrine of ‘common grace’. While common grace can offer a stable foundation for co-belligerence, such activity is not straightforward, and calls for careful […]

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Honour and Shame by David McIlroy

Honour and Shame by David McIlroy

  Summary Contemporary Western society suppresses the concepts of honour and shame, although they re-surface in its media in a theatre of the grotesque. Honour reinforces good behaviour through appeals to a shared morality, while shame penalises bad behaviour through disgrace and exposure. The Bible offers a different social vision, in which honour is respected […]

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Globalization and the world economy – for richer for poorer, for better or worse? by Paul Mills

Globalization and the world economy – for richer for poorer, for better or worse? by Paul Mills

  Summary Globalization is transforming the world for both good and ill, although it is neither new nor inevitable. Globalization is largely innocent of the crimes for which it is usually charged. It has the potential dramatically to reduce global poverty and undermine repressive regimes. But globalization challenges the viability of the nation state and […]

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Mercy not Sacrifice -Mosaic law in Christian social ethics by Jason Fletcher

Mercy not Sacrifice -Mosaic law in Christian social ethics by Jason Fletcher

  Summary Rather than neglect Mosaic law, Christians have a theological responsibility to seek in the law given to shape the nation of Israel, insight into God’s will for nations generally. Mosaic law was never intended exclusively for Israel; its ethical principles originate in the character of God and are foundational to the creation order. […]

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The moral authority of Scripture by Julian Rivers

The moral authority of Scripture by Julian Rivers

  Summary This paper explains the evangelical commitment to the moral authority of Scripture. After emphasising the literary diversity of Scripture and justifying the idea of moral authority, it identifies the ‘judgements’ of Scripture as the relevant authoritative component. It shows how these are to be constructed into a coherent ethic and it rejects the […]

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Beyond scrutiny? Minorities, majorities and post-modern tyranny by Michael Ovey

Beyond scrutiny? Minorities, majorities and post-modern tyranny by Michael Ovey

  Summary This paper examines how two arguments, the supremacy of the majority and the amorality of power, can put some exercises of power beyond scrutiny. It revisits the idea of ‘tyranny’ used by some earlier Christians and its biblical basis, and argues that an extended idea of tyranny helps analyse and appropriately resist certain […]

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Style or substance: does the reputation of the church matter? by David McIlroy

Style or substance: does the reputation of the church matter? by David McIlroy

  Word version here

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