Contemporary Creed (revised edition)

Contemporary Creed (revised edition)

Reasonable Pathways through the Problems of Christian Beliefs and Ethics

Unlike Richard Dawkins, the Contemporary Creed (revised edition) sees no conflict between evolution and God, faith and modern science.


Unlike Richard Dawkins, the Contemporary Creed (revised edition) sees no conflict between evolution and God, faith and modern science. But what sort of God creates a violent universe with a Big Bang almost 14 billion years ago and appears to do little or nothing to prevent built-in suffering and natural disasters like earthquakes, famines, disabled children and cancers?  The Christian God leaves a lot unexplained.   Some writers give superficial answers whereas Morris, who helps care for his own handicapped grandson, gets to the root of difficulties and succeeds in finding credible pathways through sixty problems of Christian beliefs and ethics.

He writes for believers and unbelievers: for Christians like himself who admit their doubts, and for atheists and agnostics interested in big questions. His unusual format of 90% prose and 10% original poetry is entertaining, and the style straightforward everyday language, offering conclusions that are often open-ended, undogmatic. His systematic theology becomes a brief A-Z that may be read in any order for individual Bible study, or by house groups that want a provocative structure for lively discussion. 


A book for 'beggar to bishop' and everyone in between. I think this book would be brilliant for all: from the immediate post-Alpha discussions, when it is so easy for confidence in faith to be undermined from all sides, to those preparing sermons who could gain much from such clear-sighted stripping bare of how to present the truths of faith to their listeners. A book to return to frequently and, I suspect, in which to continually discover something new. ~ Heather Armstrong, The Sarum Link

This is an unusual book. It has sixty short chapters, each one introduced with some of the author’s verse, which he then goes on to unpack for the rest of the chapter. Whilst the verse is not of huge literary merit, it serves as a way in for John Morris to tackle a huge range of Christian doctrine. His style is compact and succinct, and it is the kind of book that you need to read with a bible next to you as it is peppered with references throughout. His sixty chapters are divided into nine sections, covering all the major doctrines – creation, suffering, incarnation, Jesus’ ministry, atonement, resurrection, the Trinity, scripture and Christian living. Because of his concise and sometimes terse style of writing, he manages to cover many different approaches whilst also giving his own preferred understanding of the various issues. He accepts the evolutionary viewpoint and weaves in many references to modern science and cosmology. One thing that appealed to me is that he does not try to give pat answers, but gives the reader enough meat and bible references to follow up any questions that are raised. You may not agree with him, but it gets you thinking! As such, this book would make excellent material for a home group or bible study, with ample stimulating material in each short chapter to discuss. I thought his section on the resurrection was particularly good, presenting many different opinions and ways of considering it. To give some critical comment, there was little input in his thought from any mystical theology, and it is largely from a rational, materialist, western worldview. Whilst there was the occasional nod towards more radical or adventurous viewpoints, it sticks largely to conventional protestant thought and doctrine with a liberal and contemporary influence. There is a slight feel that he is reading back into scripture what the church has said it says, and not giving enough credence to modern biblical scholarship. It is also largely anthropomorphic, almost referring to God as a larger version of a human being at times and for me it misses the chance to present God as immanent, within all creation, as well as transcendent. Having said all that, it is still worth the read for the range and depth covered. In summary, this is a very good book to use to deepen one’s own understanding or to study in a group. It does not have all the answers, but gives a well-reasoned discussion of the issues, problems and concerns of Christian life and belief. John Morris has contained within a slim volume a range of thought that you would normally only find in much larger, thicker and more expensive volumes, for which he is to be congratulated. ~ Revd Don MacGregor

John Morris addresses many significant questions about Christian belief in a careful and truth-seeking manner. His book should be helpful to many enquirers.

~ Revd Dr John Polkinghorne, KBE, FRS, physicist, theologian, author.

We need books to bridge the gap between belief and unbelief, between the Church and the enquirer who cannot fi nd the entrance and between the pulpit and the pew. This book does it.

~ Most Revd Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York.

In this admirable and cogently-written book, John Morris explains how he sustains a life-changing faith while being fully mindful of all the intellectual challenges and perplexities this entails. Even those of us who cannot share his beliefs will be stimulated by his arguments and enlightened by his perspective.

~ Lord (Martin) Rees, OM, Kt, FRS, Astronomer Royal, author

A brilliant, honest, contemporary restatement of orthodox Christianity. It tackles 60 of the toughest objections to Christian faith with deep thoughtfulness, in well-organised topics and clear prose. His 100-word creed is a masterpiece, his poems a joy, and his profound handling of diffi cult issues will help many, atheists and believers alike.

~ Canon Dr Michael Green, theologian, university speaker worldwide, author

My problem with most books on God by believers is that they treat theology as though it were a science. It’s not, and John Morris doesn’t try to pretend that it is. Most refreshing.

~ John Humphrys, BBC & author of In God We Doubt

John Morris
John Morris John Morris, M.A.(Corpus, Cambridge), PGCE (London), M.Ed (East Africa), and PhD (Exeter), born in 1937, was a teacher, teacher-trainer and ...
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