Freeing The Faith

I regret I never had the privilege of meeting Revd Hugh Dawes but he inadvertently had a profound impact on my Christian journey.

Freeing The Faith

It was over thirty years ago when I was exploring the possibility of offering for the ordained ministry in the Methodist Church. Wesley College, in Bristol, (now closed) was holding a residential weekend for people such as myself, so I went along. It was while I was there that someone suggested that I read ‘Freeing the Faith’, by Revd Hugh Dawes, which back then was hot off the press.

I should explain that back in those days my theology was perhaps described as ‘right of centre’ to put it into political parlance. I am ashamed to say that I found Hugh’s book quite shocking and disturbing, so much so that I only got about half way through before confining it to my bookshelf. And there it remained, forgotten, for over fifteen years.

But whereas Hugh’s book remained unopened on my bookshelf, I moved on. I came to embrace the ideas of theologians such as Spong, Borg, Crossan, Geering and others. And it was later, I remembered that somewhere ‘Freeing the Faith’ was gathering dust, but there it was, still on my bookshelf. The pages had gone a bit yellow and there were one or two signs of damp, but I read it eagerly from cover to cover in just one sitting. And I pondered as to how I could have possibly had the attitude that I did all those years ago.

But it is because of the writing and teaching of Hugh Dawes and others, that I, and I am sure many others, have remained part of the church, or Christian community, when we have no longer been able to ‘believe six impossible things before breakfast.’ And of course, I shall ever be grateful to Hugh for his huge contribution to PCN, especially in those early days before I was even aware of its existence. He has left a huge legacy for all of us who value the work and ethos of PCN, and I am sure saved many from abandoning the Christian faith altogether.

God bless you, Hugh.


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