Research for the academy and the church

Research for the academy and the church: Tyndale House and Fellowship the first sixty years

Thomas A. Noble
Inter-Varsity Press, 2006, Hdbk, 336 pp, £19.99
ISBN 9781844740956

The author, Thomas Noble, Professor of Theology at Nazarene Theological Seminary Kansas City was guest preacher at LCF’s Service of Thanksgiving in 1993.

As the title makes plain, this book charts the history of one of the United Kingdom’s leading evangelical institutions along with its associated fellowship of scholars, from its foundation in 1944 to 2004. Sixty years on, it is hard to imagine the struggles undergone by conservative evangelicals to set up a centre to promote biblical research but we can read about it in this book.

Having been secretary of the Tyndale Fellowship in the early 1990s and with access to primary sources i.e. minute books T.A. Noble is able to chronicle meticulously the debates, setbacks, changes in focus and, of course, the success and achievements of Tyndale House and Fellowship over the years. The role of the Inter-Varsity Fellowship is mentioned and there are insights into the characters of the founding fathers such as F.F. Bruce and D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

Useful appendices give details of officers and staff, computing facilities and Tyndale lectures and monographs. The informative chapter describing Tyndale House library was written by LCF member and ABTAPL colleague Dr. Elizabeth Magba.

This book will be a great resource for academicians, theological librarians and scholars researching church history of the 20th century, especially the history of conservative evangelicalism. There is perhaps too much detail at times for the casual reader.

As a librarian and former cataloguer I have a minor complaint – the ambiguity regarding the title of the book. I am still not sure if the main title is Research for the academy and the church or Tyndale House and Fellowship the first sixty years. This is because the wording of the title on the title page and dust jacket has no punctuation. I suspect the book will be known by its sub-title Tyndale House and Fellowship: the first sixty years as the main title is set in smaller type.

However, I do not want to end on a negative note. I learnt a great deal through reading this book, and as one who benefited greatly from exceptional biblical teaching at University in the 1970s through a Christian Union affiliated to the IVF, I now realise how much I owe to the visionaries who set up Tyndale House and Fellowship.

Contributed by Shirley Shire, BSc (Hons), DipLib., MCLIP who is the Librarian of the Bristol Baptist College.