English L'Abri

Lecture Schedule

Friday Night Lectures
at English L'Abri

Autumn 2018
The Manor House, Greatham
Dessert, Tea, & Coffee 7:30 p.m.
Lecture 8:00 p.m.

Listen to all our latest lectures on our podcast site: 



21st  Schaeffer’s Death in the City Revisited                      

What is the message of the church to this generation? Drawing on the biblical books of Jeremiah and Romans, in 1968 Francis Schaeffer portrayed a culture needing to recognize God’s judgement. If he was right, how do we communicate such a message? Are we loving enough to tell the truth? 

Mostyn Roberts, Pastor Welwyn Evangelical Church, author of a Francis Schaeffer Biography 


28th  Exploring Character in Science, Theology and Practice                               

This lecture will outline the principles and findings of the Integrated Character Project: a programme of psychological studies, biblical and theological reflection, and practical application. We will address the implications for Christian living, education, work life, and mental health.

Dr. Roger Bretherton, Principal Lecturer, School of Psychology, University of Lincoln


5th   Virtue in the Virtual Society                                                           

Many traditional accounts of ethics focus on the concept of virtue, the cultivation of the self towards an elevating telos by shared practices incommunity. Since the advent of social media, there has been a remarkable transformation in our relationships and in the realities that lie at the heart of such ethics: self, character, community, and shared practices. Understanding how we are being changed will equip us to act more prudently.

Alastair Roberts,  PhD University of Durham


12th   Is the Singularity Near? A Christian Critique of Transhumanism

The aim of this lecture is to present a panorama of a movement born in our era called “transhumanism”. From computer scientists and tech experts to philosophers and theologians, transhumanist thinking has been spreading quickly as a belief system to various areas of life. My goal is to analyse their concept of singularity and its centrality as a driving force for their enterprise, offering a Christian response to the main themes developed by transhumanists.

Josué Reichow, L’Abri Worker


19th   The Intriguing Friendship between Francis Schaeffer and Hans Rookmaaker 

Francis Schaeffer was a Christian apologist whose remarkable breadth of cultural interest and penetrating insights into modern life, led many to a profound spiritual reality. Hans Rookmaaker was an art historian whose Christian insights in art, music and culture had widespread influence. Both had vibrant personalities, striking charisma, and focused on how to engage with reality while creatively living out a relationship with God. 

Edith Reitsema, L’Abri Worker


26th  In Pursuit of Goodness, Beauty and Truth:  Why We Should Read Aloud?

In the buzz and busyness of life, it is important to make choices for ourselves and for those we love (especially our children!) to slow down, to carve out spaces for connection and healthy interactions, and foster a safe environment in which we can explore life's greatest questions, encounter dragons and villains, and develop a taste for goodness, beauty and truth.

Dawn Merz, L’Abri Worker



2nd  Understanding and Responding to the Sexual Revolution 

The Sexual Revolution promised liberation from an alleged Victorian ethic that saw sex as shameful, but ironically, it has led to addiction and bondage. Thislecture traces its roots from the Enlightenment and the way its ideas have been disseminated through the universities, in law, and in medicine. In responding to the sexual revolution as Christians, we need to identify its truths, expose its myths and proclaim the true Christological purpose of sex.  

Dr. Peter Saunders, Chief Executive, Christian Medical Fellowship


9th   The Enneagram: A Framework for Personality

The Enneagram is a personality typing system which offers a framework for understanding oneself and others through nine interconnected personality types. In recent years, it has risen in popularity, especially among Christians. We will look at the nine types, how the Enneagram can be used and misused, and what insights it can offer individuals and communities.

Andy Patton, L’Abri Worker


16th  Love and Apple Pie  

Love seems to be a very unstable feeling. What do we mean by the word? Does it have any real place in modern life?

Marsh Moyle


30th   Reframing Work:  What is it All About?

For some work is about survival. For others, it involves issues of identity. Many are unsure they are in the right type of work at all. Yet, almost everyone seeks meaningful work. The narratives of purpose and meaning around our work are deeply rooted in our time, place, and experience. This lecture will attempt to reframe our understanding of work as a core element of being human, yet one keenly affected by the Fall—moving from how work fits into our lives to how we fit into the work of God.

Joel Barricklow


7th  John Stott: The Man and His Legacy                                      

Legacy is best-judged after 20 or 30 years or more, but there are elements of a lasting ministry which are evident much sooner. This lecture will outline John Stott’s life, and point to some of its effects which are already visible. He was a man of colossal influence, like his mentor, Charles Simeon.

Julia Cameron, Writer & Editor


Friday Night Lectures

at English L'Abri

Summer 2018

The Manor House, Greatham
Dessert, Tea, & Coffee 7:30 p.m.
Lecture 8:00 p.m.


25th    A Play in Words: The Story of French Chanson

What is la chanson française? How, if at all, does it differ from folk, rock, and pop? Pat Harvey shares the story of this great musical genre of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Pat Harvey, Artist, Writer, & Producer


1st    Black Tea for H. R. Rookmaaker: Contextualising Dr. Rookmaaker's Work for the 21st Century

Prompted by recent interest in Dr. Rookmaaker’s work, Peter Smith reflects on the decade-long relationship he had with the art historian. Through personal meetings and letters from 1967 to 1977, what kind of influence did Rookmaaker have on a young painter and printmaker? How do we understand his legacy in today’s context? Did he open doors that we have yet to walk through?
Peter S. Smith, Painter & Printmaker
8th    Three Years to Save the World: Was Jesus Busy?
Taking inspiration from Romans 12:2 about being transformed by renewing our minds, this lecture looks at the cult of busyness. Are Christians too busy? How do we cope in a world where we will never finish everything we have to do? How did Jesus manage all the demands on his time?
Claire Paye, Company Director, Charity Trustee, & Mother
15th    Islam and Reformation
The Protestant Reformation’s 500-year anniversary and recent calls to reform the religion of Islam prompt the question of what reformation might entail for Muslims. What has and what will reformation look like in Islam? Keefer considers this question by exploring the history of the religion and its theological tenets.
Arthur Keefer, Teacher & Chaplain, Eton College
22nd    Trained to Distraction: Attention Economy, Technology, & Our Lives
Our capacity to pay attention is central to human flourishing. A whole influential industry—powered by modern technology and our proximity to our smartphones—has been targeting our ability to attend in order to keep us hooked to their products and invest our time in a way that is profitable for them (and not necessarily for us). In this lecture, we will look at how the Attention Economy works, how it influences our lives, and how we can respond to it in a healthy way.
Lili Reichow, L’Abri Worker
29th    True Spirituality in the Arts: Recapturing the Wonder
Christian artists often struggle to integrate their faith with their artwork and end up with a sacred-secular split. We will look at an array of artworks to help us see what it looks like when we try to shut Christ out of a big part of our lives. This false dichotomy splits our hearts, and this problem is in no way limited to artists.  Isaiah 29 and Colossians 2 will help us think about what it would look like for us to recapture the wonder of Christ working in our hearts with “wonder upon wonder” (Isaiah 29:14).
Edith Reitsema, L’Abri Worker

6th    Seeing the Transfigured Word

The event of Christ’s Transfiguration is a more important one in the New Testament than we often appreciate. Properly understood, it gives us a key for reading the Bible as a whole.
Alastair Roberts, PhD, University of Durham
13th    Deconversion: Why Do People Lose Their Faith?
Five hundred years ago losing one’s faith would have been unimaginable, but today it is commonplace (and even celebrated). To many, the Christian faith seems unbelievable and life seems filled with reasons to set it aside. Both belief and doubt have become increasingly fragile as individuals inhabit a liminal space between the two. What are the factors that have contributed to this shift? Can faith actually be lost? If so, how can it be found again?
Andy Patton, L’Abri Worker
20th    Conflict: Under the Carpet or Under the Cross?
Interpersonal conflict is painful and yet confrontation is necessary if we are to have more than superficial relationships. What issues have to be addressed if we are to negotiate the minefield and come to resolution?
Marsh Moyle

27th    Why Engage With The Classics? An Invitation To The Odyssey

This lecture will discuss the Homeric Epic and the ancient tragic view of life. It will explore some of the major themes of the Odyssey such as homelessness and homecoming, the universality of suffering and loss, and death and the problem of oblivion, while examining the endlessly fascinating, multifaceted character of its hero Odysseus—the ancient Everyman.


3rd    Whatever Man Called It, That Was Its Name: The Postmodern Debate and Reforming Our Sociological Imagination

The duality modern/postmodern has been a constant theme for those working in various fields of knowledge, but especially for sociologists. As Christians we borrow and use these categories in order to make sense of our times. The aim of this lecture is to present a panorama of this discussion in order to use these categories more accurately and develop a Christian perspective and critique of such a duality, calling for transformation in the way we name culture and society.
Josué Reichow, L’Abri Worker

Friday Night Lectures at English L'Abri
Spring 2018
The Manor House, Greatham

Dessert, Tea & Coffee 7:30 p.m.
Lecture 8:00 p.m.



19th    Surfing the Wave: Rapid Cultural Change and the Transgender Agenda
Transgender rights have gone from a minor issue to becoming the cultural battlefield of the past few years, with major gains made by the transgender lobby in terms of law, educational policy, media coverage and celebrity endorsement. How has the transgender lobby been so successful in changing public opinion and the voices against transgenderism so unsuccessful in holding back this cultural change?

Jim Paul, L’Abri Worker

26th     How to Read the Story of Jesus in Every Part of the Bible  
From Genesis to Revelation, God uses many threads—themes, narratives, characters, and symbols—to weave a single story. This lecture will introduce ‘Biblical theology,’ a way of reading the Bible that seeks to trace each thread as it develops throughout scripture to better understand God's work in Jesus, the one to whom all the threads lead. 

Andy Patton, L’Abri Worker



2nd    A Return to Virtue: Character Formation for Us and for Our Children
There is a renewed recognition in education, politics and business that character is crucial for the future of society and human flourishing. But what is character? Can it be educated into children? And what about us? This lecture will consider these questions with a look back to ancient wisdom and forward to the latest psychological research.

Tom Smiley, Psychologist

9th    On Thankfulness
This lecture will articulate a theological and philosophical definition of thankfulness, trying to find broader categories to think about a common concept in a more comprehensive way.

Josué Reichow, L’Abri Worker

16th     Come and Rest: An Invitation to the Exhausted
In a time of busy, workaholic, multitasking, tired people. is there a space for rest? This lecture will look at reasons why rest has become such a distant concept and will explore its powerful and transformative offer to our lives.

Lili Reichow, L’Abri Worker

23rd     Eating People is Wrong: A Description of Other-centred Love
This talk will explain what other-centred love looks like and how ‘the inferno of self-love’ works against it.  We will consider how Christ alone is the reference point for understanding the greatness of the highest love.

Andrew Fellows, Director of Christian Heritage, Cambridge



2nd      The Secularisation of Sex
Given the success of the sexual revolution, we are now witnessing the death of biblical teaching on sex and marriage. Drawing from his recent book A Better Story: God, Sex and Human Flourishing, Dr Harrison will ask whether traditional Christian teaching on sexuality is finished as a force for good.

Glynn Harrison, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Bristol

9th       Beyond Redemption? The Catholic Imagination of the Godfather Trilogy
Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974) are widely regarded as two of the greatest films of the twentieth century. The Godfather: Part III (1990) is often dismissed as a pale failure. This lecture will explore how the trilogy as a whole reflects the work of a specifically Catholic imagination where the moral universe is viewed through the sacraments of the Church.

Andrew Jones, Vicar of Grace Church Hackney, London

16th    Understanding the Times: Some Trajectories for the Future
The culture is polarised—not just left and right but the centre and the periphery, the cosmopolitans and the provincials. This lecture will sketch some trajectories for where this might lead and consider what we should do about it.

Marsh Moyle

23rd     The Terrible Comfort of Good Friday
When asked what happened when Jesus was crucified, many Christians can give little more than short, pithy summaries: 'He was dying for our sins' or 'He was taking our punishment' or 'He was showing how much God loved us.' The Bible has more to say. As preparation for Good Friday, this lecture will explore the deep terror and unspeakable comfort of the brutal execution at the heart of Christian faith.

Phillip Johnston, L’Abri Worker

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22nd    Is Reality Socially Created?
Contemporary sociologists argue that the way we see the world is socially created within cultures. “Girls wear pink and boys wear blue,” for example, is not a universal law but something created within twentieth-century Western culture through discourse around what it means to be male and female. If reality is socially created, then it can be recreated. But is this true of all of reality? Can gender, religion, morality, and even our own humanness be shaped and reshaped as we choose?

Jim Paul, L’Abri Worker

29th     Life, Death, and the Meaning of Time: A Journey Through T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets
T. S. Eliot is among the greatest poets of the twentieth century. However, his masterpiece The Four Quartets, remains an evocative mystery to many readers. In The Four Quartets we see a Christian poet at the height of his maturity. It is a meditation on time, suffering, modernity, God, the human experience, and much more that rewards an evening's study and a lifetime's reading.

Andy Patton, L’Abri Worker


6th    Calvin and the Visual Arts: Pure Vision or Blind Spot?
The sixteenth-century reformer John Calvin is not generally know for his enthusiasm for the visual arts. Yet he widely praised the arts in general as good gifts of God's creation for the common good and enjoyment of all. In this 500th anniversary year of the Reformation, this lecture will take a closer look at Calvin's comments on the arts in his Institutes of the Christian Religion and consider what may still be of value.

Adrienne Chaplin, Independent Scholar and Visiting Research Fellow, Kings College, London

13th    Modern Art and the Life of a Culture
In their recent book Modern Art and the Life of a Culture, Jonathan Anderson and William Dyrness offer a rereading of the history of modern art, including such important artists as Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Warhol, and others. In the book and this lecture, Anderson explores episodes in modern art history that are more shaped by religious contexts and theological concerns than they are usually given credit for, questioning the narrative Hans Rookmaaker offered in his influential book, Modern Art and the Death of a Culture (1970). 

Jonathan Anderson, Associate Professor of Art, Biola University, USA

20th     A Quiet Revolution: The Impact of the Reformation on Church Music
A look at how the theology of Martin Luther and John Calvin effected significant changes in the musical forms of the medieval church.

Judy Raines,  Musician

27th     What Does it Mean to Be Authentic?
Many voices in our culture extol the value of authenticity. But what does it mean to be authentic? Does it mean being real, genuine, not fake—completely honest? Or is our current use of the word closer to the Latin root author, i.e. to be your own author, true to yourself no matter what? This lecture will explore these definitions of authenticity as a way of approaching an even bigger question: Is God ‘I am’ or am I?

Edith Reitsema, L’Abri Worker

28th    FILM FESTIVAL: Living with Machines
This year’s film festival is a one-day event on Saturday, 28th October. For registration information and programme, email bookings[at]englishlabri.org.



3rd    Evangelicalism, Whiteness, and the Age of Trump
Drawing on research conducted in a small town in the American Midwest to explore some of the motivations and meanings attached to white evangelical support for Donald Trump, this lecture will reflect on the puzzling relationships between religion, race, and politics that have unfolded in the United States over the last eighteen months.

Jessamin Birdsall, PhD Candidate, Princeton University 

10th  What Has Wittenberg to Do with Florence? The Birth of Modern Times
After five centuries of history, the principles and beliefs of the Protestant Reformation and the Renaissance are still at work in our society. This lecture will look back to these movements to discern their similarities, tensions, and contribution to the birth of modernity.

Josué Reichow, L’Abri Worker

17th  Integrated Imagination: Fantasy in the Real World
Many Christians live with a hard divide between the sacred and the secular, a type of imaginational segregation that isolates Christianity from the rest of human experience. As a pastor’s kid who always loved fairy tales and fantasy novels, Andrew will share how story, art, and music were the breadcrumbs that led him to faith in Christ and to a sacramental view of a world ‘charged with the grandeur of God’ (G.M. Hopkins).

Andrew Peterson, Musician, Artist and Author of The Wingfeather Saga

24th        NO LECTURE


1st        Low-level Creeds and Worldview
Worldviews influence and shape our beliefs and the way we see the world, but what influences these  worldviews themselves? This lecture will explore how deeper engagement with low-level creeds—our  deeply held, often repeated, mantra-like confessions or beliefs—should be considered part of our  worldview discussions.

Tom Price,  Senior Tutor, The Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics




19th    ‘Those Human Nests’: Vincent van Gogh’s Search for Home
This lecture will discuss the life and work of Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh as seen through the lens of his deep longing—expressed in his letters and art—for a place to call home.

Lindsey Patton, L’Abri Worker

26th     Baptism and the Body
Christians, even those who say much about ‘incarnational’ faith, can say surprisingly little about the way that God claims our bodies. This lecture will explore the intensely bodily character of baptism as a pledge and seal that anticipates future resurrection, adoption, and the redemption of our bodies.

Alastair Roberts, PhD, University of Durham


2nd      Smuggling Jesus Back into the Church: A Reformation Manifesto
When the integrity of Christianity becomes eroded and compromised, reformation is an inevitability. In light of the 500-year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, this talk will explore why the history of the church follows this pattern and imagines what reformation might look like today. 

Andrew Fellows, Director, Christian Heritage Cambridge

9th      Hollow Gods: Idolatry in Our Postmodern Society
The here and now usually determines the nature of our gods. What has taken place philosophically in our view of knowledge, freedom and language to mould us into our current idols? Serving the god of our times means self-worship. This lecture will point to the One who said, “Heaven and Earth shall move with the times, but My words shall not move with the times” (C.S. Lewis on Matthew 24:35).

Edith Reitsema, L’Abri Worker

16th    The Cloud of Knowing
The Bible mentions a cloud in many places. Sometimes it is referred to as a cloud of fire or a cloud of darkness. This lecture will explore how we can understand these various cloud events and how we can avoid some major and popular misunderstandings of them.

Ellis Potter,  Itinerant Missionary

23rd    How Technology Behaves: A Christian Response (Part 2)
Many today feel uncertain about how to respond to a changing technological landscape. Having previously outlined a few rules for what technology is and how it behaves, this lecture will explore what we should do about it and propose a response that avoids the double dangers of fear and utopianism.

Andy Patton, L’Abri Worker

30th    How Does the Bible Speak About God’s Action in the World?
The philosopher Alvin Plantinga recently wrote, “There is superficial conflict but deep concord between science and theistic religion, but superficial concord and deep conflict between science and naturalism.” Both Christianity and Judaism rely on Biblical passages to describe the way God acts in the world. This lecture will develop an approach to reading these texts that is generally in line with Plantinga’s insight.

Dr. C. John "Jack" Collins, Professor of Old Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary, USA



7th      Herman Dooyeweerd: A Christian Philosopher (Part 2)
Having previously explored the Dutch Christian philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd's context, critique of modernity, and philosophical anthropology, this lecture will discuss his understanding of Western cultural development with a particular focus on his unique philosophy of history and concept of the religious ground motive.

Josué Reichow, L’Abri Worker 

14th    Let Justice Roll Down: Martin Luther King Jr.  and the Black Lives Matter Movement
This lecture will focus on the circumstances that gave rise to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, as well as the American evangelical church’s response to both the racial climate of the USA and the Black Lives Matter movement. King’s correctives concerning the damaging silence of many Christians during the civil rights era will also be discussed when considering the need for a more robust gospel-centered response to racial injustices. 

Dr. Mary McCampbell, Assosciate Professor of Humanities, Lee University, USA

21st    Why Do People Want to Die? A Psychological Conversation About Suicide and Trauma
The modern world is desperate to live and to die. Medicine has never been more able to prolong and protect life, yet many are equally determined to end their lives. This lecture will explore the effects of psychological trauma on a person’s relationship to life and death, the place of shame in suicide and self-harm, and what can be done to help those who are suffering.

Tom Smiley, Psychologist 

28th   The Era of Choice
The present time is filled with an incredible amount of options in practically every aspect of life. Our job is to choose—to exercise our abilities to understand, analyse, and decide. This lecture will discuss how we arrived at a time of such abundant choice and explore the consequences of this reality for our daily lives.

Lili Reichow, L’Abri Worker



4th     How Should We Then Love? Ordering Desire in the Immanent Frame
Saint Augustine once wrote, 'For when we ask whether someone is a good man, we are not asking what he believes, or hopes, but what he loves.’ This lecture will explore the primacy of love in the Christian life by encouraging the cultivation of a love for God which deepens our enjoyment of God’s good gifts.

Phillip Johnston, L’Abri Worker