Apr 21, 2017:  KLICE Comment April 2017

With the triggering of Article 50, we invited two theologians to offer contrasting reflections on Brexit. These articles were completed before the general election was announced. Richard Bauckham Brexit: restoring self-governance and Nicholas Townsend Thinking about Brexit after Article 50 form a double-header for the April 2017 KLICE Comment.

Mar 30, 2017:  KLICE Comment March 2017

In Illiberal Liberals, Vinoth Ramachandra argues that those on the liberal side of debates criticising Trump risk falling into the trap of doing so from the same sort of simplistic and biased position that they accuse his supporters of holding. Instead they need to be scrupulously fair and accurate in their comments.

Feb 20, 2017:  Grove Ethics: How to Live a Good Death

In his Grove Booklet, How to Live a Good Death, Matthew Kirkpatrick seeks to challenge our theology of death, which he argues is overinfluenced by contemporary secular thinking, which, amongst other things, causes us not to think about it at all. Reflecting on it theologically has beneficial pastoral implications both for dealing with the prospect of our own death and ministering to others nearing death.

Death is something most of us are distanced from in contemporary Britain: one of an increasingly small number of things we can neither know nor control is best not thought about, even though we know it to be inevitable. When we have to talk about it, we normally do so through euphemism. 

This thinking has infiltrated the church too. We do seek to care for those nearing death, but often as people just “waiting to die” with little inherent use. This reflects either the worldly narrative that our worth is dependent on what we can do, or perhaps a version of the prosperity gospel that God’s glory can only be seen in cases of apparent success.

Instead, the gospel teaches that we should treat with greatest honour those the world despises, whom God actively uses. The gospel is not purely one of charity towards the weak, but based on their profound ability to minister God’s presence and glory. God’s power is made perfect when we realise our profound fraility, helplessness and vulnerability, so are forced to give everything to him.

These truths are challenging to many of us as Christians – not least those such as the author who are in good health, successful and (probably) many years from death: he admits that he doesn’t know how he will feel when he is nearing the end. We should certainly stand against euthanasia, which argues that there are lives no longer worth living, but do our own practices towards the dying say implicitly that there are lives “through which God is unable to glorify himself”? Instead of just making them comfortable, we should continue to esteem them and empower them.    

Feb 13, 2017:  KLICE Comment February 2017

In 'The Trump Presidency: Everything Up for Grabs', two US academics reflect on the early days of President Trump's administration and the challenges facing the USA and the world ahead. 

Jan 21, 2017:  KLICE Comment January 2017

In 'The Right Kind of "Secular State"- a Christian Perspective' Jonathan Chaplin analyses A Secular Response to last year's CORAB report.

Dec 15, 2016:  KLICE Comment December 2016

Jonathan Chaplin's devilish parody 'How to Muzzle the Gospel at Christmas' provides some ways to regard (or not!) this festive season. Happy Christmas!

Nov 24, 2016:  KLICE Comment November 2016

In 'Concern, empathy and hope: responding to the US election', Judd Birdsall of CIRIS reflects on his concerns about the (to him) unexpected win of Donald Trump and sets forward some ways others in a similar boat might respond with hope.

Oct 20, 2016:  KLICE Comment October 2016

In 'Growing up with Joshua, part 3: Serving and Being Served', Kirsty Jones completes her series on how the church should help those with disabilities integrate, this time reflecting on adults. 

Sep 27, 2016:  KLICE Comment September 2016

In 'Unashamed: Confronting Violence Against Women at University', Hannah Mitchell, Southern Coordinator for Just Love reflects on violence against women both abroad and in the UK: it is easier to condemn it in other countries, but to have integrity we need to campaign on the issue here too. Unashamed is a Christian campaign attempting to address the issue in UK universities.

Aug 11, 2016:  Grove Ethics: The Quest for Perfection

In the latest Grove Ethics booklet, Rhona Knight explores the desire for self-improvement or perfection in contemporary Western culture. This manifests itself in numerous ways, including cosmetic surgery, testing babies for any possible 'defect', body-building, performance-enhancing drugs (for studying), and many others. There are many cultural drivers, including the media, the need for self-esteem, invidualisation, progress, and technology, which we are rarely willing to say no to. 

Christianity is often portrayed as opposing all of these, and hence being out of date, but has a more nuanced view: progress needs to be in the right direction and have the right motivation. It teaches that creation was originally good, is broken, and that healing can bring freedom (Luke 4:18-19) - and indeed that scientific progress can be part of this. But it also warns that an excessive desire for perfection moves us away from a view of an intrinisic dignity of humanity and a transformation in Christ to one in which we are oppressed by a consumer identity and obliged to conform to the standards and desires of the world. Instead of seeking meaning in the world, we see it in ourselves.

The answer is the Biblical idea of shalom, in which we seek God and peace and healing in the world, but on God's terms, not ours. We should look for perfection in our inner life, not in our physical appearance: 'We do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day (2 Cor 4:16)'.

Aug 5, 2016:  KLICE Comment July/August 2016

Guy Milton, head of Media Relations at the Council of the European Union, presents reflections on how the rest of the EU might see the result of the recent UK referendum.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and in no way reflect the views of the Council or the European Council.

Jun 10, 2016:  Second KLICE Comment June 2016

For our second KLICE Comment for June, lawyer James Crabtree writes from the pro-Brexit side arguing that the current expansionist ambitions of EU elites are in conflict with a biblical view of limited and accountable government.

This is one of a set of KLICE Comment pieces commissioned to reflect various political views. Others can be found on our EU Referendum page. KLICE has no official position on the Referendum.

Jun 6, 2016:  First KLICE Comment June 2016

What is the impact of the EU on family law in England and Wales? David Hodson, a leading international family law specialist, argues that committing to harmonisation with EU law has brought few advantages and in many cases has prevented us having a better legal framework.

This is one of a set of KLICE Comment pieces commissioned to reflect various political views. Others can be found on our EU Referendum page. KLICE has no official position on the Referendum.

May 23, 2016:  Second KLICE Comment May 2016

In the second of two KLICE Comments for May 2016, David White argues that the EU cannot be solely a financial entity: it was originally about peace and security, and its fruits have been a Europe largely free of war since World War II.

This is one of a set of KLICE Comment pieces commissioned to reflect various political views. Others can be found on our EU Referendum page. KLICE has no official position on the Referendum.

May 11, 2016:  Grove Ethics: The EU Referendum - How Should We Decide?

Andrew Goddard's Grove Ethics booklet is a rare beast in the vast array of publications on the EU Referendum in that his own opinions are not clearly in view. He presents a fair case for both sides, and concludes with a plea that the decision is made not out of fear, but out of a considered view of principles, costs and benefits, and that Christians on both sides of the debate model good practice in how they debate. 

The earlier chapters provide the information for doing this, including the historical background to the EU and its aims (peace, solidarity with others, improved economic life) and the rather mixed interaction the UK and its political parties have had with it.

He also outlines Christian notions of what political authority is for and how it should operate: many have cited the anti-Empire and anti-idolatry language of Revelation in their opposition to the EU, but Christian theology calls for solidarity across borders and opposition to the "we are better than them" thought that can lie between more extreme notions of the nation state. 

Similarly he tackles the complicated current issue of migration: does the EU force us to favour its migrants over those from elsewhere, and is the idea of freedom of movement just labelling people as abstract economic units? Perhaps we ought to be encouraging people to see and develop the worth of their current abode instead.


May 9, 2016:  First KLICE Comment May 2016

In the first of two KLICE Comments for May, Julian Chapman discusses the EU budget and the UK's net contribution of about £160 per week. Much of it goes in foreign aid to countries both inside and outside the EU to help their development: a practical application of "loving our neighbours".

This is one of a set of KLICE Comment pieces commissioned to reflect various political views. Others can be found on our EU Referendum page. KLICE has no official position on the Referendum.

Apr 18, 2016:  New Research Associates: Paul Billingham and Simeon Burke

KLICE is pleased to announce the appointment of two new Research Associates.

Paul Billingham is a Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church, Oxford, and researches the relationship between the actions of the state and the beliefs and values of citizens, especially their religious beliefs.

Simeon Burke is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, looking at the early reception of Jesus’s ‘render unto Caesar’ saying among early Christian authors (the Synoptic Gospels, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen and others).


Apr 14, 2016:  KLICE Comment Apr 2016

April's Comment is the second of Kirsty Jones' series looking at how churches can support and integrate people with special needs. Having previously considered a younger child on the autistic spectrum, we now look at issues that come into play when they reach the youth group and adolescence.

Apr 14, 2016:  Why we need a proper debate on the EU

Text of Jonathan Chaplin's lecture at the Keeping Faith in the EU? Conference, organised by The Centre for Theology and Public Life at the University of Winchester, 9 April 2016.

Mar 30, 2016:  KLICE Comment Mar 2016

In the light of Easter, the forthcoming EU Referendum and the US presidential nominations and the recent Brussels attacks, it is appropriate to think about what Jesus taught about power and violence. Jonathan Chaplin, reflecting on Mark 10:34-45, shows how Jesus's notions of power and authority a deviated widely from contemporary Roman and Jewish ideas. Instead of a Kingdom dependent on military force, Jesus called for 'a new trans-national commuity of forgiven sinners ... freed to live lives of mutual service and self-sacrifice'. 

Feb 25, 2016:  KLICE Comment Feb 2016

In February 2016's Comment Jonathan Chaplin launches KLICE's coverage of the forthcoming EU Referendum, a highly significant decision to be made by the UK as a nation with repercussions in Europe and around the world. But on what basis should Christians decide how to vote, and how can they see through arguments which are often shallow rhetoric? In this article Jonathan looks at what the EU is, or should be, and points to various resources which help inform our thinking on these issues.

Feb 12, 2016:  Grove Ethics: Doctrine in Practice - Introducing Karl Barth's Moral Theology

The latest Grove Ethics booklet is "Doctrine in Practice: introducing Karl Barth's Moral Theology" by Michael Leyden. A helpful primer to Barth's often complicated thought with a useful annotated bibliography at the end

Barth argued that since who we are as Christian flows directly out of the Word of God spoken to us through the 'Christ-event', what we do should follow from what we believe about God and the world - our dogmatics - rather than a separate field which can easily be divorced from our faith: a challenge to liberal thinking both then and now.

One consequence is that we should engage in public-square ethical debates as Christians, but there are questions posed (and not yet answered) about how this works in practice. Nevertheless it has the potential to be fruitful confession, mission and evangelism.

Jan 11, 2016:  KLICE Comment Jan 2016

In January 2016's Comment, Jonathan Chaplin looks at early responses to the Woolf Institute's Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life (CORAB) report Living with Difference: Community, Diversity and the Common Good. He argues that without more constructive engagement, the British Christian community is in danger of squandering an important and timely opportunity to contribute to the debate about the role of faith in the public square.

Sep 11, 2015:  Reading for the Assisted Suicide Bill

On Friday 11 September Rob Marris’ bill on assisted suicide receives its first reading. For advice on action, see Care Not Killing.  For reading, see:


Culture and Christ Meets once a month on the evening of every 2nd Wednesday from 7-9pm for fellowship and engagement with cultural issues, both academic and other. The aim is to develop a community for support, exploration of our different areas of expertise, grappling with the issues of our day, etc.