Blog Interview: Dr Daniel Strange – Oak Hill College, England

In this, the latest of my interviews with faculty of Bible Colleges around the world, I speak with Dr Daniel Strange of Oak Hill College.

Oak Hill College Building
Oak Hill College Building

Please introduce yourself and your role at Oak Hill College

Dr Daniel Strange
Dr Daniel Strange

I’m the College Director at Oak Hill College and on the senior leadership team. I also teach in the areas of Culture, Religion and Public Theology

Tell us a little about Oak Hill

Oak Hill was founded in 1932 by Charles Baring Young to train those from less privileged backgrounds, and with very little financial backing, for evangelical ministry in the Church of England and other protestant denominations. Today we’re training men and women for a lifetime of gospel ministry, whether for pastoral leadership, cross-cultural ministry, youth and children’s ministry, evangelism, both within the Church of England and in independent churches, in the UK and overseas.

Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

Our programmes are offered both full time and part time. And we’re also expanding our offering to include some Flexible Learning courses for those wanting to grow in their faith, reach and serve others more effectively whether at home, in their workplace, or at church.

How do Oak Hill’s students fund their studies, and do you take students from overseas?

Anglican ordinands are funded by the Church of England; our independent students are funded by a variety of means, whether their sending church, friends and family, trusts, government funding, savings etc. So many of our students have experienced the gracious generosity of our God in providing wonderfully for their needs.

What type of ministry is Oak Hill intended to prepare students for?

Most of our students will be seeking to go into full time paid Christian ministry; either Anglican or Independent. We are looking to provide rigorous training that will enable students to sustain a lifetime of ministry and to develop resilience. In giving them rigorous training in terms of depth, they are building on foundations, and at the same time developing an appetite to be lifelong learners. And most importantly we want them to become more like the Lord Jesus.

College Alumni in ministry
Jon Putt, former student of Oak Hill College, talks with local people outside Grace Church, Kempston, Bedford, where he is responsible for church outreach

What is distinctive about what Oak Hill offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?

So we are distinctively conservative evangelical in terms of confession. We recognise the importance of high academic standards, depth and rigour, while applying everything to real ministry situations, hence our strap line “ministry for the real world”. We intentionally integrate the different theological disciplines so they are not taught in a compartmentalised way but rather inform each other, and we look at what that means formationally too. Our focus on pedagogy; not simply being Christian in what we teach, but Christian in how we teach, particularly within our unique living, learning and worshipping community. And we have being developing a graduate profile by looking at what ministry is and what ministry needs, starting with what the Bible has to say on this. So the graduate profile focuses on character, skills and theological wisdom and is enabling us to be more intentional with how our curriculum and the college experience helps our students to grow in these areas.

Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

We have one of the finest theological libraries in the south-east – we’ve got historical material and a wide range of contemporary resources from a variety of different traditions to support the teaching and research of members of the college. It contains over 55,000 items in stock, including multimedia items on DVD. New stock is added to the library each month, to make sure the resources remain relevant to contemporary needs. We also subscribe to approximately 100 print journals with the majority of our subscriptions being electronic.

Oak Hill College Library
Oak Hill College Library

Cambridge Greek Testament: Galatians by A. Lukyn Williams

Arthur Lukyn Williams [1853-1943], The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians with Introduction and Notes

This is a basic commentary on the Greek text of Galatians, written for Schools and Colleges and should be of great assistance to those learning Greek. My thanks to Book Aid for providing a copy of this public domain work for digitisation.

Arthur Lukyn Williams [1853-1943], The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians with Introduction and Notes. Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1910. Hbk. pp.160. [Click here to visit the download page for this book]

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    1. The History of the Galatians and of the Province of Galatia
    2. The Galatians of the Epistle: Who were they?
    3. The Galatians of the Epistle: Who were they? (continued)
    4. The Time of Writing
    5. The danger to which the Galatians were exposed, and the manner in which St Paul met it
    6. The permanent value of the Epistle
    7. The Canonicity of the Epistle
    8. The Text
    9. A Plan of the Epistle
    10. Commentaries, etc.
    11. Chronology of part of St Paul’s life
  • Text
  • Notes
  • Appendix
    • Note A: The term “Arabia” in the Epistle
    • Note B: ii. 1–10 in relation to Ac. xv. 4–29
    • Note C: Legal customs mentioned in the Epistle
    • Note D: Archbishop Temple on iii. 20
    • νόμος and ὁ νόμος
    • πνεῡμα and τό πνεῡμα
  • Indices
    • General
    • Greek
    • Scriptural
  • Map

Preface

The same methods have been adopted in the preparation of the following Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians as in that of the volume on the Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, viz. first, the independent use of concordance and grammar, and only afterwards the examination of commentaries and other aids.

The difficulties of the Epistle are not of the same kind as those of Colossians and Philemon. There (especially in Colossians) many strange words which in after years acquired highly technical meanings had to be considered; here rather historical circumstances and Jewish modes of thought.

The former of these unfortunately are still far from certain. Even the district intended by Galatia is doubtful, and the discussion of it is often conducted with more warmth than its importance warrants. Personally I greatly regret that I am unable to accept the very attractive theory presented with so much brilliancy of expression and originality of thought by Sir William Ramsay, viz. that the Churches of Galatia to w horn St Paul here writes are those whose origin is described at length in Acts xiii. and xiv. Its fundamental presupposition is that, as St Paul’s plan of campaign was to win the Roman Empire for Christ by seizing strategic points, he would not have visited so outlying a part as Northern Galatia. Hence if the Acts and our Epistle, backed up though they are by the consensus of Patristic evidence, appear to say that he did do so, this can be only in appearance not in fact. But I confess that the more I study the arguments adduced against the prima facie meaning of the passages in question the less they impress me, and, in particular, all attempts to date the Epistle on what may be called the Southern theory appear to me to fail. I therefore find myself reluctantly compelled to adhere to the older opinion that the Epistle was written to the Churches of North Galatia, at a date between the writing of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians and the Epistle to the Romans.

Of more permanent interest is the revelation in this Epistle of St Paul’s training in Jewish modes of thought and exegesis. These indeed may be traced in every book of the N.T. (though the words and phrases due to them are often grossly misunderstood by friend and foe), but here they obtrude themselves on the most careless of readers. No one but a Jew accustomed to Rabbinic subtlety would have thought of the argument of the curse (iii. 13, 14), or of the seed (iii. 16), or even of Sarah and Hagar (iv. 21- 27). These and other examples in our Epistle of the working of Paul’s mind ought perhaps to have given more stimulus to the study of his mental equipment than has been the case.

Far more important however in our Epistle than either of these two rather academic subjects is its insistence upon the true character of the Gospel. St Paul opposed, with all the warmth of knowledge bought by experience, the supposition that Christ came only to reform Judaism, to open its door more widely to the Gentiles, or to attract them by the substitution of another Law of commands and ordinances for that to which they had been accustomed as heathen. It is the verdict of history that his efforts, though successful for the moment, have to a great extent been a failure….

Pages iv-v

Was Christ Born in Bethlehem? by Sir William Ramsay

Sir William Mitchell Ramsay
Sir William Mitchell Ramsay (Photo Source: Wikipedia)

Sir William M. Ramsay’s classic defence of the historicity of Luke-Acts. My thanks to Book Aid for making a copy of this public domain title available for digitisation.

William M. Ramsay [1851-1939], Was Christ Born at Bethlehem? A Study on the Credibility of St Luke. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1898. Hbk. pp.280. [Click here to visit the download page for this title]

Table of Contents

  1. Luke’s History: What it Professes to Be
  2. Plan and Unity of Luke’s History
  3. The Attitude of Luke to the Roman Empire
  4. Importance in Luke’s History of the Story of the Birth of Christ
  5. The Question at Issue
  6. Luke’s Account of the Enrolment
  7. Enrolment by Households in Egypt
  8. The Syrian Enrolment of the Year 8 B.C.
  9. The Enrolment of Palestine by Herod the King
  10. Chronology of the Life of Christ
  11. Some Associated Questions
  • Appendix

Preface

Understanding that a certain criticism implied a sort of challenge to apply my theory of Luke’s character as a historian to the Gospel, I took what is generally acknowledged to be the most doubtful passage, from the historian’s view, in the New Testament, Luke ii. 1-4. Many would not even call it doubtful. Strauss (in his New Life of Jesus) and Renan dismiss it in a short footnote as unworthy even of mention in the text.

This passage, interpreted according to the view which I have maintained – that Luke was a great historian, and that he appreciated the force of the Greek superlative (in spite of the contradiction of Professor Blass and others) – gave the result that Luke was acquainted with a system of Periodic Enrolments in Syria, and probably in the East generally. I looked for evidence of such a system; and it was offered by recent discoveries in Egypt. The confirmation afforded to Luke was explained in the Expositor, April and June, 1897.

Realising better in subsequent thought the bearings of the Egyptian discovery, I have enlarged these two articles into an argument against the view that Luke sinks, in the accessories of his narrative, below the standard exacted from ordinary historians. At the risk of repeating views already stated in previous works, the second chapter attempts to put clearly the present state of the question as regards the two books of Luke, without expecting others to be familiar with my views already published.

The names of those scholars whose views I contend against are hardly ever mentioned. The scholars of the “destructive” school seem to prefer not to be mentioned, when one differs from them. I have learned much from them; I was once guided by them; I believe that the right understanding of the New Testament has been very greatly advanced by their laudable determination to probe and to understand everything, as is stated on p. 33; but I think their conclusions are to a great extent erroneous. It might, however, be considered disingenuous if I concealed that the weighty authority of Gardthausen, the historian of Augustus, is dead against me, p. 102….

Pages vii-ix