Tutor in Mission & Homiletics
Director of the Newbigin Centre
Admissions Tutor for Ordinands
Paul teaches mission studies at Ridley and in the Cambridge Federation, and is the Director of the Newbigin Centre for Gospel and Western Culture.
As a teacher he aims to excite students with the breath-taking wonder of God’s good news and to explore how this can be understood and communicated in today’s world. Along the way he looks to uncover the unexamined assumptions of our contemporary (increasingly secularised) culture in the West, exploring how they came to be, and how they might be addressed in the light of the good news. Over the years Paul has taught a number of courses in this area (both here and abroad), and he enjoys the way in which it brings together a number of disciplines, including theology, history, philosophy, sociology and cultural studies.
As Director of the Newbigin Centre for Gospel and Western Culture, Paul oversees research students working for Masters and Doctoral degrees in association with the Centre, and in partnership with the Newbigin House of Studies in San Francisco, hosts the annual ‘Lesslie Newbigin Summer Institute’ at Trinity Hall Cambridge, with attendees from the States, Europe, and Asia.
Training to be an effective missional leader in the West today is an enormous challenge requiring the kind of sustained reflection and personal formation that only a community like Ridley can provide.
In the Common Award he teaches Mission & Apologetics in Contemporary Culture, and contributes to Missional Theology. On the BTh course he teaches The Gospel and Western Culture, and contributes to The Study of Christian Mission. On the MA course he teaches Mission and Ecclesiology in Contemporary Context, and Reflective Practice - Mission and Evangelism
He is also an enthusiastic member of Ridley’s Life and Service ‘Mission and Ministry’ team, and contributes on Evangelism, Apologetics, Missionary leadership, and Preaching.
Paul also looks after the Admissions for Ordinands at Ridley, along with Ann-Marie Moriarty (the Admissions Officer for Ordinands), handling enquiries about courses, and interviewing ordinands who are interested in coming to the college.
Paul was born in Cheltenham but spent most of his formative years growing up in the centre of Oxford. He first came to Cambridge as a history undergraduate at Trinity Hall in 1976.
He has an MPhil in New Testament studies and gained his PhD from King’s College London on Lesslie Newbigin’s missionary engagement with Western culture. He has been a theological educator for over 25 years.
When not teaching, Paul is a serious mountaineer (specialising in mixed-rock, snow and ice climbing in the Alps). He is also an enthusiastic landscape photographer (mountains especially), and loves most kinds of music (particularly classical and jazz). He also loves to travel and is something of an aficionado of contemporary ‘Nordic Noir’.
Married to Ginny, he has two grown-up children, and possesses a sense of humour that is generally considered on the dry side.
Paul is a Senior Fellow at the Newbigin House of Studies in San Francisco, USA and regularly teaches on their programmes. He also is a visiting professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago. A Trustee (and past Chair) of Anvil Journal (an Anglican journal of theology and mission), he is also a member of the Editorial Board of the recently launched Journal of Missional Practice.
A member of the Archbishops’ College of Evangelists, Paul has led over 100 missions in parishes and universities both here and abroad. He also preaches regularly.
Paul’s on-going research interests focus on the interface between contemporary post-Enlightenment Western culture and the message of Jesus Christ. He is currently writing a book on the ‘idea’ of mission, another on using the gospel stories in contemporary evangelism, and is continuing to work on a major book on Newbigin’s contribution to contemporary mission thinking and practice.
He supervises doctoral research on contemporary mission, most recently on the influence of Michael Polanyi on the conception of mission as ‘translation’.