21 April 2021

Chris Marshall Visit

Laidlaw was treated to an extended visit from its former New Testament lecturer, Professor Chris Marshall on April 13, 14, and 15. Chris completed a PhD through King’s College, London, in the early 1980s, supervised by the late Prof Graham Stanton, also a Kiwi. Immediately after completing his doctorate Chris was called to be the New Testament (NT) scholar and teacher at Bible College of New Zealand (now Laidlaw College), where he taught from the mid 1980s to the mid 2000s. Although his PhD was completed in the context of classic British historical-critical NT studies, Chris has never been content with remaining in the past but has always looked for ways in which faith in Jesus can be lived out in contemporary society. This is seen in Chris’ NT scholarship which has focused on four main areas: Jesus, the Kingdom of God, community, and mission. These four can be understood under two larger rubrics – Jesus and the Kingdom on the one hand, and discipleship on the other. 

It was the privilege of generations of Laidlaw students to sit under Chris’ teaching, to have their faith challenged and expanded, and to receive a renewed vision of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. 

In 2005 Chris moved to Victoria University as religious studies lecturer and later became the inaugural holder of the Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice at Victoria University. This was not a move away from Christian scholarship but was rather a further exploration and expression of what it means to follow Jesus and seek first the Kingdom of God and its justice. 

Chris gave three talks during his visit to Laidlaw. On the Tuesday he presented the monthly Laidlaw Research Seminar on the concept of “care” and its relationship to restorative justice. On the Wednesday evening Chris gave a public lecture on “shame,” its damaging personal and social effects, and how Jesus’ life, death and resurrection brings healing from it (Heb 12:2). On the Thursday Chris was interviewed in the Laidlaw atrium over a community lunch in which he shared his journey as scholar, pioneer in restorative justice, and follower of Jesus. All three presentations were met with deep appreciation from all who listened, and many old friendships were renewed during Chris and his wife Margaret’s visit. 

View the public Lecture

The public lecture on “Sin, Shame and Salvation: Confronting and Healing Pathological Shame” was recorded and can be viewed via this link.