Ian M Fraser has been a pastor-labourer in heavy industry, a parish minister, Warden of Scottish Churches House in Dunblane, an Executive Secretary of the World Council of Churches, and Dean and Head of the Department of Mission at Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham. He is the author of nineteen books, including Strange Fire, Salted with Fire and the spiritual classic Reinventing Theology, which is used as a standard theological sourcebook around the world.
Ian is one of the original members of the Iona Community who helped George MacLeod to rebuild ‘the common life’ and the Abbey buildings on the isle of Iona. Throughout his life Ian has travelled the world, alone and with his wife, Margaret, visiting basic Christian communities. He has walked alongside slum dwellers in India and Haiti; Nicaraguan and Cuban revolutionaries; priests, nuns and catechists facing arrest and/or death in Central and South America; small farming and fishing communities in the Philippines His life has been a search for the vision and reality of a church in which all voices are heard and all parts of Christ’’s body are included. One place where he found such a model was in the underground church in Eastern Europe during the Communist era. He writes about that discovery here, among other life experiences.
Eighty-eight years old at the time of writing this book, Ian calls The Way Ahead his ‘last will and testament’, the capstone and distillation of his work and thinking. At a time when many people cannot see the future and feel that the church is dying, Ian feels hope and sees great possibility. He writes:
It is difficult to read the signs of one’s own time. In the West, are we at a time of a decline in Christian belief? I think that there is a chance that we are in Kingdom territory where humanity is shouldering church to the side – not rejecting it but giving it its true servant place – in favour of direct Kingdom priorities.
This is a book for anyone who cares about where the church is heading. Will the Christian church live or die? What is the way ahead?
Perhaps the church will live – if it has the courage and humility to take Ian Fraser’’s inclusive message to heart.