United World Mission
Dear Friends and Family,
September is probably my favorite month of the year in Oxford, as the flood of tourists has abated, the weather is mild, the sun is out and the flowers are still in bloom. But beyond the beautiful weather, this month has been down-right exciting..
Earlier in the month I had the priviledge of traveling to South Africa, where I attended a conference on Mission and Ethics at the University of Pretoria, presenting a paper and also delivering a lecture to undergraduate students. We also took a road-trip over the weekend, and went on a short but extraoridinarily memorable safari in the Kruger National Park. The conference was fascinating, and it was refreshing and exciting to see top scholars from all over Europe as well as from the US and South Africa speaking candidly about the mission of the Church. The conference is the first of three or four, to be spaced out over the next 15 years, as the group of scholars present continues to research and publish on this central topic. My own paper addressed the inseparable connection between provision for the poor and the Christian vocation, and I also discussed two of the biggest modern impediments to that work: consumerism and prosperity theology.
This work on prosperity theology has proven timely, since I have been asked to debate a UK prosperity theologian on the radio on October 11th. I confess that I feel both gravely committed to addressing this theological abberration, and yet nervous about trying to endorse an unpopular position (that God does NOT promise riches to Christians, and that money is potentially dangerous as a temptation) in sound-bytes rather than extended discourse. Please pray for me as I prepare for and take part in this debate.
September also brought the beginning of an exciting new side-project. I have begun partnering with Dr Ard Louis, a Christian physicist here at Oxford and chairman of the advisory board for the Biologos Forum
, in leading a discussion group on Christian faith, modern science, and Genesis 1-3. We've assembled a group of 15 evangelical Oxford scholars, both theologians and scientists, and have begun working on this timely and controversial issue. It is an enormous blessing to be in a city with so many amazing Christian thinkers, and I'm exceedingly grateful for this time.
Peace be with you all,
Christopher, Michelle, Judah and Asher Hays