*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Bible Society’s contemporary objects and work

by
15 August 2014

iStock

From Mr Paul Woolley

Sir, - I enjoyed reading Bishop Michael Doe's review (Books, 25 July) of Matthew Engelke's God's Agents: Biblical publicity in contemporary England, but couldn't help but wonder at times whether we had read the same book.

First, the review suggests (the book does not) that translation, production, and distribution are no longer part of Bible Society's work. In reality, the core of Bible Society's activity is precisely in this area. This is unsurprising considering that 4000 of the world's languages are still without any part of the scriptures.

Bishop Doe is right, however, to draw attention to the fact that, in England and Wales, the challenge is not one of availability but of engagement, which explains why our work, domestically, is focused on encouraging the nine out of ten people who don't read the Bible to pick it up for the first time.

Second, the review seems to confuse Bible Society's historic commitment to producing Bibles without denominational "note or comment" with neutrality about the Bible. While Bible Society studiously avoids taking denominational or sectarian positions (we are inter-confessional), we are absolutely committed to talking about the relevance and application of the Bible in contemporary culture and political debate.

Bishop Doe appears to criticise us for not taking a clear "left" or "right" line on political issues. It is certainly true that we are committed to helping people of all parties consider the significance of the Bible without telling them what to think, but, across all of our outputs, we explicitly challenge notions of neutrality, secular or otherwise.

Finally, he asks whether, in a secular world (though not as secular as perhaps he thinks), the promotion of the Bible itself is the best place to begin. If we were another agency, the answer might possibly be different, but there is surely no other option for Bible Society. Founded by William Wilberforce and others in 1804, we are resolutely committed to both the Bible and society, and expressly exist to offer the Bible to the world.

PAUL WOOLLEY
Executive Director (Charity)
Bible Society
Stonehill Green, Westlea
Swindon SN5 7DG

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear below your letter unless requested otherwise.

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards

 

Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available

 

SAVE THE DATE

Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website

 

ViSIt our Events page for upcoming and past events 

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

 

To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)