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Gemma Hooper, May 2013
The Schuman Centre's State of Europe Forum, held on 9th May each year, brings together Christian leaders from around the continent to evaluate Europe today in the light of the vision of EU Founding Father, Robert Schuman, for Europe as a 'community of peoples deeply rooted in Christian values': equality, freedom, solidarity and peace.
The sponsors of the Forum, ECPF, commissioned Jubilee Centre, in collaboration with Relationships Global and Relationships Foundation, to write a report on the quality of family, community, economic, and political relationships across the continent.
The Snapshot provides a platform for exploring how economic, political and social problems are ultimately relational issues, since their causes and consequences are largely in the realm of relationships. This analysis helps to point towards an alternative, relational narrative to individualism as the basis for public policy and national life.
This relational framework captures the vision of Schuman and the other founding fathers of modern Europe more effectively than the narrow economic view which increasingly dominates the political agenda. More importantly, it is a biblically rooted framework which offers a Christian basis for social reform.
Dr Gai Ferdon, April 2013
"..Why should twenty-first century Christians take the time and effort to learn about how seventeenth-century Protestants thought about politics?..."
from the foreword by John Coffey, Professor of Early Modern History and Cambridge Papers writer. He continues:
"... I can think of three reasons. First, it is a means of resourcement. In the contemporary climate, Christians are strongly tempted to follow secular ideologies and neglect the resources of their tradition. .....And while reflecting on the political thought of previous generations of Christians can be taxing, there is no better way to enlarge our reference group and learn from the wisdom (and folly) of past generations. ..... Ferdon's paper does just that, convening an animated and rather fractious seminar in which we hear some powerful and utterly distinctive voices: Sir Robert Filmer, John Milton, James Harrington, John Lilburne.
A second reason to look to the past is that there are certain perennial issues and tendencies in Christian political thought. We still find ourselves divided over questions of political power - Who holds it? Where does it originate? To whom are the powerful accountable? How can they be removed from power? ..... Understanding the past helps us to make sense of our present.
Finally, this study gets us to wrestle with the problem of biblical hermeneutics. We see how different factions in the English Revolution turned to different parts of Scripture as they sought to answer fundamental issues about power. ..... This study shows that there are no easy answers when it comes to reading the Bible politically, and it ought to make us more self-critical in our own hermeneutics. Yet we also find evidence of deep and serious engagement with the Bible, and see how the reflecting on the Old and New Testaments was once an integral part of European political thinking. Reading the Bible with the dead can be a valuable exercise. It highlights strands of Scripture that we may have neglected, and suggests levels of meaning that we may never have encountered. Past thinkers cannot do our thinking for us. But by reading them, we will learn to think more carefully and more deeply about politics. In the light of current controversies over religion in the public square, this could hardly be more necessary."
Jonathan Tame, April 2013
Unfortunately the media company which was uploading our podcasts to iTunes is no longer working with audio files. As a result there are currently two Jubilee Centre accounts in iTunes, and all podcasts up to the end of 2011 are on the old account, which is accessible here:
Until we have resolved this problem, please access all pre-2012 podcasts directly by using the above link, as the buttons on the individual resource pages will send you to the new Jubilee Centre account, which only has the most recent podcasts.
We apologise for this inconvenience, and hope you can still find the recording you are looking for!
Keywords: Christianity & Religion, Crime & Justice, Education, Finance & the Economy, Government & Foreign Affairs, Health, Lifestyle Issues, Science & Technology, Sex & Families, The Environment, Worldviews & Culture
James Williams, March 2013
"I have heard several people say, for example, that the work of the Jubilee Centre is 'utopian'."
In this enjoyably well-written paper, James Williams questions why people might use such a word and to what end. He looks at historical and recent views of 'perfect societies' and considers both the writers' motivations and their solutions. Some considered that the answer was to create separate societies by withdrawing (such as the Anabaptists or the more recent Branch Davidians) or by seeking their vision in the New World. Others wished to reform existing but corrupt polities. Was Milton right, he asks, when he criticised such efforts as a distraction from real world social reform?
This paper compares broad political ideas where right criticises left for being utopian and vice versa. James Williams, as he highlights Karl Popper's critique of Marxism, enjoys the irony that Marxism itself was prompted in response to what Marx and Engels described as 'utopian socialism'.
So, is the work of Jubilee Centre 'utopian'? James Williams reviews the practical outcomes of much of Jubilee Centre's work (and that of its associated charities) and also what he calls the more theoretical publication output and observes:
"The reliance of the Jubilee Centre on modern applications of Old Testament Law is central to its whole endeavour...... [T]heir approach to the Law sees it as a paradigm, not a blueprint. This rules out the ('utopian'?) extreme position of theonomists, or Reconstructionists, who wish to implement the Law as statute today. By looking at institutional norms and relationships within Israelite society the Jubilee Centre also avoids the ('utopian'?) sole reliance on 'Kingdom Ethics' (beloved of the Christian Left) as a guide to the activity of unbelievers and secular governments."
"for [Jubilee Centre's] mandate rests on their belief that the Bible does speak to the ordering of societies and that Christians should heed that and work to improve the flawed structures around them and to ameliorate the effects of sin."
Sally Bertlin (Editor), February 2013
'The Family and Sexual Ethics: Christian Foundations and Public Values' was an international conference held in Hong Kong in May 2011, organised by the Hong Kong Baptist University and the Jubilee Centre.
In recent years there has been a growing international interest and concern about the pressures of the environment and the consequences of this for the long-term survival of the planet. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the breakdown of the family and its consequences for the ecology of the planet. Family breakdown is being driven partly by divorce and partly by today's sexual ethics, which then impact on rates of family formation and disintegration.
On the strength of Jubilee Centre's sexual ethics work over recent years, we mobilised a team of scholars, including Jonathan Burnside, Jeremy Ive, Dale Kuehne, Jennifer Roback Morse and Michael Schluter, who presented papers together with a group of Chinese academics.
This report is a collection of ten short papers from the conference, each under two pages long to ensure as wide a readership as possible.
Guy Brandon, February 2013
This booklet offers a brief but comprehensive introduction to the Jubilee Centre's work - a kind of 'primer' to our thinking.
The Jubilee Roadmap shows two alternative directions of travel for eight major themes in biblical law: Family, Property, Community, Government, Finance and the Economy, Welfare, Rest, and Justice. One direction reflects the prevailing thinking based on individualism, while the other - the road less travelled - points towards a society based on good and right relationships. The booklet explores the differences between our modern secular approach and the biblical ideal, and how we might start to move from one to the other.
Guy Brandon, January 2013
This draft report summarises our research to date on education in the Bible. Starting from first principles, it aims to shed light on how education is approached in the Bible, including the vital question of its ultimate purpose.
Surveying the different attitudes and approaches through biblical history, with particular emphasis on the Wisdom literature, it concludes by making some tentative suggestions for application in our own education system.
Jon Thompson, January 2013 2 comments
Price: £0.99 (free online)
This paper argues that Christianity is the most coherent form of humanism. By contrast, secular humanism is historically and philosophically dependent upon Christianity's view of the human person. In a survey of the origins, emergence and development of secular humanism, this paper explores that historical connection before examining some of the implications which flow from a divorce of human values from Christian belief.
Category: Cambridge Papers
Guy Brandon, January 2013
Take a journey over 7 weeks through a series of issues and challenges facing Christians today. From consumer culture and sexual pressures to managing our time and our money, Jubilee Lifestyle is a Bible study course for anyone who wants to be a counter-cultural follower of Jesus. As a special offer, we'll send you 6 copies of the 35-page User Guide plus 1 copy of the Leader's Notes for just £3.99, with free delivery in the UK - that's down from £10.50.
Category: Bible Studies
Keywords: Lifestyle Issues