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Resources for a Christian worldview

Jeremy Ive Pages


Revd Dr Jeremy G. A. Ive is Church of England vicar in Kent. He has two doctorates and blogs at Trinitarian and Reformational. 

 

Born Durban, South Africa, 1957.

B.A. majoring in History, Philosophy and Politics (Rhodes University, 1981).

B.A. Hons in History and Politics (Rhodes University, 1981).

PhD thesis: “The Local Dimensions of Defence: the Standing Army and Militia in the Eastern Counties, 1649-1660”  (Cambridge University, 1986).

Secretary of the Newick Park Initiative on South Africa (1986-1989).

Theological training, Wycliffe Hall Oxford (1989-1991). 

Curacy at Ivybridge, Devon (1991-1994). 

M. Phil. thesis: “R.W. Jenson's critique of Standard Religion and his Temporal Account of the Trinty”,( King's College, London, 1995).

Priest-in-Charge, Abbottskerswell, Diocese of Exeter (1995-1999) and also

Project Advisor to the Newick Park Initiative on Rwanda (1994-1999). 

Priest-in-Charge/Vicar, Tudeley cum Capel with Five Oak Green, Diocese of Rochester(1999 to present).

Lay Ministry Advisor, Diocese of Rochester (1999-2001).

Executive Director, Relationships Foundation International, formerly the Newick Park Initiative (1999-2002).

Ph.D. Thesis, “A Critically Comparative Kuyperian Analysis and a Trinitarian, ‘Perichoretic’ Reconstruction of the Reformational Philosophies of Dirk H.Th. Vollenhoven and Herman Dooyeweerd” (King’s College London, 2012).

 

 

An autobiographical sketch

I was born in Durban (eThekwini in the Provice of KwaZulu-Natal) although my family moved to Cape Town soon after that, and then to Johannesburg where I went to school. After two years military service based in Potchefstroom, I went to Rhodes University, Grahamstown, where I did a BA majoring in History, Philosophy and Politics, and then joint Honours in History and Politics

I was introduced to Reformational Philosophy through Francis Schaeffer.  I remember reading Escape from Reason and The God Who Is There when I was twelve, and this opened a new world of understanding that there could be a rigorous critique of contemporary society.  At school I had read widely - especially Plato and Kant, and then read Philosophy as one of my three Majors (the other two were History and Politics).  

Meanwhile, I had gone on to discover first Cornelius Van Til and then finally, Herman Dooyeweerd. In this I was encouraged by a visit by Danie Strauss to the Philosophy Department at Rhodes.(I bought copy of the New Critique for my 21st birthday, and it has been a constant companion ever since).


The sort of philosophy I was doing at university was solidly in the Anglo-American positivist tradition.  Having recourse to the Reformational tradition gave me a handle to relate to these vigorously antichristian positions systematically and intelligently.

In 1979 there was a large gathering of Christian from all races in Pretoria: the South African Christian Leadership Assembly.  It was addressed among others by Professor Elaine Botha, then at the University of Potchefstroom. Indirectly, through SACLA, I became involved in political activity.   In November 1979, a group of us founded the Student Union for Christian Action (SUCA).   

An important element in setting up SUCA was the desire to introduce a Christian voice into the political bloodstream - especially because of the way that thought, especially Reformational thought, has been misused.  At our initial meeting a number of us gave papers arguing that the notion of sphere-sovereignty was in fact antithetical to the policy of Apartheid.   As Secretary of SUCA, I tried to build into the constitution a thoroughly Christian, indeed Reformational basis.  


Subsequently, SUCA took on a much more activist/protest role and tended to lose much of this specifically Christian focus, but the contacts which I made through that experience, not least on the Afrikaans and African campuses (normally out of reach of English Speakers) were invaluable.

I built up connections with the Afrikaans Reformational Community, including with Theuns Eloff, then a leading Afrikaner student leader, who set up Polstu (Political Students' Organisation of SA) to give this voice. It also led to my making contact with the Reformational group at the University of the Orange Free State in Bloemfontein, where I later spent time researching the papers of EG Jansen, a former Minister of “Native Affairs” for a sadly unfinished MA I started to undertake at Rhodes under the supervision of Professor Rodney Davenport. However, all this deepened my understanding for my later involvement with the South African question.


Meanwhile, in 1981, I was awarded a Christ’s College, Cambridge, Research Scholarship, and began work on a PhD in History at Cambridge.  My dream was to do something which took into account a Christian perspective in dealing with a period within which Christian ideals were very prominent albeit in a very controversial way.  I was also influenced by the Braudelian way of doing history: looking at the way in which all the factors build up to give one an overall picture – rather than giving a purely narrative account, as history has been done traditionally. 

As it happened, I found myself being drawn more and more to the aspect of defence – since that is what came out of the documents, although I looked at it from a normative point of view - for example taking up the suggestion of Hommes about the development of the Rechtstaat in the 17th Century.  What I arrived at was a sort of post-revisionist account, which took the norms of government seriously, without reducing government to a set of individual compacts, or the very organicistic approach adopted by the revisionists - who in their reaction against “Whig” history, tended to see things mostly in terms of the county community and its disruption by the Civil War.


As a graduate student at Cambridge in the early 80s, I found myself swimming against a tide of pietism and lack of interest among Evangelicals for serious Christian thinking on wider issues, except on a very piecemeal basis. As a graduate, I supported a Christian Historians group under the aegis of CICCU (the Cambridge affiliate of the UCCF). With some other graduate students, we convened a Dooyeweerdian discussion group where we presented theses on different areas of work (I on history), and then later linked up with the Suffolk "College House" to form College House in Cambridge - a very exploratory Dooyeweerdian group. We organised conferences, and had a number of people over from the ICS: Henk Hart, Jim Olthuis, Tom McIntyre and Cal Seerveld particularly - but it was most definitely not part of the Evangelical mainstream.


Out of my frustration with my work and the lack of a Christian perspective in the academic arena, a couple of graduate students including me, set up, what was eventually called, a foundation for Christian Scholarship group.   This took the form of a small gathering in one of our rooms, with one of us presenting typically a set of theses on a subject: I remember doing one on a Christian understanding of History, and another on the idea of a Christian University.  Kevin Vanhoozer, another member of the group, did an assessment of Dooyeweerd's Transcendental method.


Later on, in 1984, a number of people associated with College House in Suffolk, a Reformational group, moved to Cambridge and formed College House in Cambridge.   As well as weekly meetings, there were also conferences, which involved a number of those from the ICS in Toronto including Henk Hart, Jim Olthius, Cal Seerveld, Thomas MacIntyre and Paul Marshall especially.   Jonathan and Adrienne Chaplin were also involved.


Immersed in and committed to this tradition as I was (and remain), I began to be aware of difficulties arising from its internal problematic, such as have been pointed out in the seminal article by Professor Jacob Klapwijk, “Reformational Philosophy on the Boundary between the Present and the Future (Philosophia Reformata, 52, 2 (1987), p. 113)


At the same time, I was becoming aware of the significance of Trinitarian theology not simply as a test of orthodoxy, but as a living and formative – indeed transforming – doctrine.  I followed through this conviction to a certain extent in my theological studies at Wycliffe Hall Oxford, in preparation for ordination, and during my curacy in the systematic study of the theology of Robert Jenson, one of the most trenchant and prophetic Christian thinkers of our time which I undertook under the supervision of Professor Colin Gunton, of King's College London, whose writings have also deeply influenced the development of my thinking. 

I was encouraged further in this by the writing and speaking of Bishop Lesslie Newbigin, another prophet figure, through whose influence the Gospel and our Culture Movement has taken place, and to whose clarion call for nothing less than the reorientation of our whole culture in the light of Christ I have given heed.


Both radical Trinitarian theology and Reformational philosophy together, and only together, can provide a path towards the true transformation of our Western culture, and, more widely, the world church (of which the Western church is increasingly a less significant part) which the gospel of Christ alone can bring.  But it is hoped that this will be much more than a somewhat recherché exercise to reconcile two schools of thought: one theological and the other philosophical - each of which has historically regarded the other with a great deal of inter-disciplinary suspicion if ever they talk to one another at all. 


My conviction is that far from being of purely technical interest, what we are wrestling with is none other than the re-orientation of Christian thinking in a way which is not only truer to, and draws more fully on, the riches of the good news of Jesus which impels us forward; but which also takes that good news to our Western culture in a way which addresses its greatest need and longings.


After serving my curacy in Ivybridge on the southern edge of Dartmoor, having followed my wife, who is also ordained and was serving her title there, I then took up my first incumbency at Abbots Kerswell in South Devon. In 1999 became incumbent at Tudeley with Five Oak Green (where I have been since 1999 in conjunction with other jobs: both in the Diocesan lay training programme and also in overseeing a peacebuilding process in the Sudan – having worked previously on the process in South Africa from 1986-1991 and Rwanda 1994-99).


In 2012 completed my PhD thesis at King’s College London on a constructive critical comparison of Vollenhoven and Dooyeweerd 

Since 2014, I have working first on a on a “Track Two” peacebuilding process in Ukraine, and currently focused on Korea where I am Senior Advisor in our reconstituted organisation, called Relational Peacebuilding Initiatives.


I have two works in progress (albeit somewhat on the back-burner at present), which I have entitled “Outline of a Christian Worldview” and “Outline of a Christian Philosophy” and which can be found on my Academia.edu

Publications

The Roots of Reformational Philosophy: The Thought of Dirk H.Th. Vollenhoven and Herman Dooyeweerd in the Light of the Trinitarian Vision of Abraham Kuyper. Unpublished, 2014.

      This is an updated version of Jeremy's 2012 PhD (now with a person index)


Unpublished Theses

2012. 'A Critically Comparative Kuyperian Analysis and a Trinitarian, ‘Perichoretic’ Reconstruction of the Reformational Philosophies of Dirk H.Th. Vollenhoven and Herman Dooyeweerd' PhD Thesis. King's College London


1986. ‘The local dimensions of defence: the standing army and militia in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, 1649-1660’. PhD Thesis. University of Cambridge.


1995. ‘The God of Faith:  R.W. Jenson's Critique of Standard Religion and his Temporal Account of the Trinity’. M.Phil Thesis. King's College London, London, 1995.


Published Articles


2000. ‘Robert Jenson's theology of history’ in Trinity, Time and Church, Festschrift for R.W Jenson ed. Colin E. Gunton (Grand Rapids, Michigan/Cambridge, UK: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company): 146-157.


2003. ‘Peace-building from a biblical perspective’, Engage 1, 3.


2004. ‘What on Earth is the Trinity? The Trinity in everyday life’ in Quodlibet Journal, vol. 6.


2005. ‘Relationships in the Christian tradition’ in Jubilee Manifesto, ed. Michael Schluter and John Ashcroft (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press)


2005. ‘International relations and defence’ in Jubilee Manifesto, ed. Michael Schluter and John Ashcroft (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press)


2015. The Contribution and Philosophical Development of the Reformational Philosopher, Dirk H. Th. VollenhovenPhilosophia Reformata 80(2): 159–177.


2018. The covenantal trinitarian alternative to the scholastic dilemma. In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi 52(3). DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v52i3.2304


2021 “Gunton and Jenson” in T&T Handbook of Colin Gunton ed. Andrew Pickard, Myk Habets and Murray Rae (London, New York, Oxford, New Delhi, Sydney: T&T Clark): 373-383.



Reviews

Gavin D'Costa, The Meeting of Religions and the Trinity’ in Anvil, vol. 18 (2001): 314-315.

Gerald O’Collins, The Tripersonal God: Understanding and interpreting the Trinity’ in Anvil, vol. 18 (2001): 142.

Philip W. Butin, The Trinity’ in Anvil, vol. 19 (2002): 139.

Ben Witherington III and Laura M Ice, The Shadow of the Almighty: Father, Son and Spirit in Biblical Perspective’ in Anvil, vol. 20 (2003): 329-330.

Calvin Seerveld, Voicing God's Psalms’ in Anvil, vol. 22 (2005): 311-312.

Robert Sherman, King, Priest and Prophet’ in Anvil, vol. 22 (2005): 318-319.

Clive Marsh, Christ in Focus: Radical Christocentrism in Christian Theology’ in Anvil, vol. 23 (2006): 226-227.

A.T.B.McGowan, ed., Always Reforming’ in Anvil, vol. 24 (2007): 146.

Douglas McCready, He came down from Heaven’ in Anvil, vol. 24 (2007): 61.


Conference Papers

with Michael Schluter, ‘Alternative constitutional settlements in South Africa: Christian principles and practical feasibility’ (Newick Park Initiative on South Africa; Cambridge: Jubilee Centre, 1987).

 

‘Unitary and federal forms of transition’ (Newick Park Initiative on South Africa; Cambridge: Jubilee Centre, 1987).

with John Ashcroft, ‘The implications for future constitutional settlement in South Africa of recent and prospective developments in the structures of central government’ (Newick Park Initiative on South Africa; Cambridge: Jubilee Centre, 1988).


‘The PEACE principles: biblical norms and alternative defence structures for a future constitutional settlement in South Africa’ (Newick Park Initiative on South Africa; Cambridge: Jubilee Centre, 1988).


   with Dee Ong, ‘Confidence-building measures and the achievement of constitutional settlement in South Africa: some guidelines’ (Newick Park Initiative on South Africa; Cambridge: Jubilee Centre, 1989).


   with Peter Webster, ‘Confidence-building and the achievement of a constitutional settlement in Rwanda: some guidelines’ (Newick Park Initiative on Rwanda; Cambridge: Relationships Foundation, 1995).


   with Edward A. Christow, ‘Strategies for facilitating, enabling and sustaining a mutually agreed transitional framework’ (Sudan Consultation; Cambridge: Relationships Foundation International, 2001).


  with Edward A Christow, ‘How can trust and confidence be built between the Sudanese constituencies?’ (Sudan Consultation; Cambridge: Relationships Foundation International, 2002).


‘The Dynamics of Formation and Change in Families, Marriages and Friendships: the Theological and Philosophical Context’ in International Conference on Family and Sexual Ethics: Christian Values and Public Values (Centre for Sino-Christian Studies, Baptist University, Hong Kong: 2011).