KLICE Bulletin 2018

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KLICE Bulletin 2018/1

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KLICE Bulletin 2018/1

From the Director … 

This is the first of our Bulletins, of which we plan to publish some 6 each year. The name “Sibylline Leaves” has a variety of connotations; we take it from the description of the writings of one of the greatest and least known Christian thinkers, J. G. Hamann, whose missional writings were referred to as such. Like Kierkegaard, Hamann saw through to the depth of the Enlightenment challenges of his day and sought to produce a corpus of writings responding accordingly. You can find an excellent introduction to Hamann in John Betz, “’Sibylline Leaves’: J. G. Hamann in the History of Ideas”, Journal of the History of Ideas, 70/1 (Jan., 2009), pp. 93-118. Our hope is that our “leaves” will contribute towards understanding and responding to the great challenges of our day. 


January in the UK was labelled “Veganuary” with a challenge from vegans to experiment with veganism for one month. Christians take very different views of this issue, but we should all agree that the food chain is of vital importance, as is the humane treatment of our fellow creatures. Gillian Fernie, administrator of St. Georges Anglican Church, Burlington, ON, Canada is a good friend and has played a key role in the development of The Tyndale House Scripture Collective (see below). She is also – unlike Craig! - a passionate vegan and we asked her to share her thoughts on the subject. Gillian also has two gorgeous dogs – who are not vegans! 

Christ and the Vegan: A Celebration of Veganuary.

Gillian Fernie

As we move through winter, many of us are wondering how to lose those extra pounds that inevitably seem to accompany the celebration of Christmas. Some of us may even be wondering about the ethics of raising and slaughtering millions of turkeys to satisfy human appetites, just for that one day. Fad diets are everywhere, with expensive subscription services and their dubious claims. Unease about the treatment of animals is the sure result of even a cursory viewing of You Tube videos of feedlots and factory farms.

What is the Christian to do? Does the Bible have anything to say about how we nourish our bodies and treat our fellow creatures?  Actually, quite a lot…

In the beginning, God created a perfect world; a world of safety and harmony for all living creatures. “I (God) have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.  And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food” Gen 1:29-30 ESV.

God, apparently, never intended us to eat animals or even for animals to eat animals. It is not until after the fall and sin’s entry into the world that God gives Adam and Eve the skins of animals to cover their nakedness and the slaughter of animals becomes the norm as the atonement for sin. 

It is also very interesting to note that God specifies green plants and fruit, given everything that nutritional science now tells us about great value of dark, leafy green vegetables and fruit as the most important part of a healthy diet. Once again, the Bible is way ahead of human understanding.

But we are New Testament people and we certainly live in a fallen world. Didn’t God say to Peter that we could eat anything (Acts 10:13) and Paul in Corinthians (1 Cor 8:8-9) to avoid offending others, so we could all get along together? Yes, but again this does seem like a concession to the hardness of men’s hearts. 

Consider the glimpse of the Eternal Kingdom that God gives us in Isaiah 11:6-9, which includes:
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Should we not take God’s consistent portrait of a perfect world without violence, where all living things live together without fear and do our utmost to make that a reality today? “Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven” as our Lord himself prayed. So, if you, like me, feel the weight of God’s call to compassion and kindness, and believe that it extends to all living creatures, I urge you to take “Veganuary” and give it a try.


Here are some resources to help you along. 


  • The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. The results of the largest epidemiological study of diet and health ever conducted. If you care about your health, you’ll never eat meat or dairy again after reading this book.


  •  Forks over Knives documentary. A life-changing, well-reasoned approach to living a long and healthy life. Produced in conjunction with the Physicians committee for Responsible Medicine.


  • Towards Rational, Authentic Food Choices - Melanie Joy. Joy makes a convincing case that one day we will view the exploitation of animals for food (carnism) the same way we now view slavery. Please be warned that there is some distressing footage of the horrors of the cruelty that farm animals suffer but Joy is kind enough to her viewers to give them due warning and time to look away.


  • For the chefs out there, a Texas firefighter has to treat one too many heart attack victims and was horrified by the number of seriously obese people he was called on to lift out of buildings. So, he got together with his father who just happened to be a heart surgeon and they present a diet to keep us, as a society, heart attack free!  Very guy friendly too.

In the peace of Christ,

Gillian Fernie. 


The Tyndale House Scripture Collective 

In December we announced that The Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar, The Scripture and Doctrine Seminar, and The Scripture and Church Seminar will now be operating out of Tyndale House under the delightful name of the The Tyndale House Scripture Collective. Interim web-pages for THSC are underway and you should soon be able to access them here 

We are also delighted to announce that British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS) are on board as a partner with us in this respect. BFBS funded the initial nine-year Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar which produced eight volumes, and their renewed involvement with us is a particular cause for celebration. 

Genevieve and Craig have visited BFBS twice in recent months and we are excited about their vision for the future under Paul Williams’ capable leadership. At our most recent meeting there we met with Andrew Ollerton, who, in partnership with BFBS, has produced the exciting resource The Bible Course. We are glad to also draw readers’ attention to Reframe, a wonderful resource produced by Paul Williams and colleagues when he was at Regent College, Vancouver. 

Identity Politics

In the UK and the USA it appears that we are divided nations, albeit for different reasons. In both contexts we are left wondering, where will a healthy vision of citizenship – whatever that is? - and government come from? Mark Lilla is an important US political thinker and writer. I first encountered him through his must-read book The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West (2007, 2008). Recently he appeared in a BBC dialogue, which led me to order his The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics (2017). We are no stranger to identity politics here in the UK, and Lilla’s critique is important if we are to find a way forward post-Brexit as a healthy democracy.


Doubtless, Christians will find important areas of disagreement with Lilla, such as his being “an absolutist on abortion.” (118) However, his analysis and critique of “identity politics” is acute and one that we need to engage with seriously. Some identity politics in the UK leaves evangelical Christians as an immoral minority; Lilla’s book can help us to see how this has happened and what to do about it. More importantly, I take from his book the call for a recovery of citizenship and for Christians to play a role in developing a constructive and compelling vision for the future of the UK and the USA, to say nothing of many other countries suffering from the same disease. 

Reading for Lent 

Lent is upon us, a season in the church calendar that is often associated with retrieving what we have lost. There are few things that we need to recover as much as prayer. If you are looking for a good resource for Lent, we recommend Archbishop Welby’s Lent Book of 2018, Luigi Gioia, Say it to God: In Search of Prayer (London: Bloomsbury, 2018). Luigi is a professor in Rome and also a Research Associate of the Von Hugel Institute at St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge. 

Writing and Publishing: Jon Boyd Visits Tyndale House 

In the English speaking world the US remains the major market for Christian books and one thing KLICE is working to do is to overcome what often appears like a chasm between UK-Europe and the USA when it comes to publishing. Thus, we are delighted to announce that Jon Boyd, the new head of IVP Academic USA (23-29 May), and Jim Kinney (June), head of Baker Academic will visit Tyndale House this year. 

A central element in publishing is building good relationships with the best publishers. During these visits opportunities will be created for individual meetings with Jon Boyd and Jim Kinney, and once lists are open you are invited to sign up for a session with them. 

KLICE will devote its 14 March 2018 Culture and Christ evening to Writing and Publishing, partially in preparation for the above visits. Kay Carter and Craig Bartholomew will facilitate the discussion. Come - if you are able to - with your ideas of books you would like to write, even if that lies in the future. Let’s also think together about what books need to be written, and how we might facilitate them. 

Worth Reading

Have you wondered what the theological influences are shaping Pope Francis? Massimo Borghesi has recently published an intellectual biography of Pope Francis in Italian. In The Tablet, 10 February 2018: 4-5, you can read a short article by Borghesi, “Living with contradiction” which summarizes his research. Fascinating! 


See here for Walter Hayns’ and Craig Bartholomew’s commentary on some of Gert Swart’s exquisite sculpture. Swart is a close friend of Craig’s and one of South Africa’s premier sculptors. (

A Fearless Look at the Unspeakable (Visual Cultures Public Programme, Goldsmiths, University of London, Jan-Feb 2018)

Within secular academic and cultural environments, debates about faith are either regarded as obsolete or as anathema. Wishing to reignite discussion, this well-attended public lecture series, convened by Dr Jorella Andrews and Dr Jean-Paul Martinon, introduced faith as a capacity to persevere in the face of what cannot readily be verbalised arguing that without it our intellectual, creative and ethical quests — religious or otherwise — become unthinkable and non-viable. Invited speakers were Catherine Chalier, Vincent van Gerven Oei, Kester Brewin, Lydia Schumacher and Lama Gelongma Zangmo. For more details click here.

Follow-up lecture: Jorella Andrews, ‘The Courage to Persevere: Contemporary re-interrogations of faith and their public implications’, 13 November 2018 (part of the Goldsmiths’ Faiths and Civil Society Unit 2018 Public Seminar Series).

Dr Jorella Andrews, Senior Lecturer, Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London

News of Publications

Ian Clausen, Reading Augustine: On Love, Confession, Surrender and the Moral Self (London & New York: Bloomsbury, 2017). The book is featured on the book series website,, which also features a blog on Augustine. 

Jonathan Chaplin, ‘‘‘Justice’, the ‘Common Good’ and the Scope of State Authority: Pointers to a Protestant-Thomist Convergence” in Aquinas Among the Protestants, edited by Manfred Svensson and David VanDrunen (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018), 287-306.

Supporting the Work of KLICE

We will soon be announcing our new vision and mission as we move forwards in to this next stage of our work.  We are very much a community - a body, with each member playing its part.  We welcome your prayers for our work and your partnership in promoting it.  Please consider supporting us financially, which will enable us - as Craig said in his introduction - to faithfully respond to the great challenges of our day.  Please email for more information.  

Where a writer is named, views and opinions expressed in this bulletin are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics or Tyndale House. 



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