Bishop of Sheffield's Annual Lecture 2018

26th February to 27th February 2018

  • For all clergy and authorised or licenced lay ministers in the Diocese of Sheffield.

Commending Christ: Apologetics in a Sceptical Culture

Does Christian faith really make sense?  Can it be credible in today’s world?  How shall we best explain to others what we believe?  Can we handle hard questions about life, death and suffering, about value, purpose and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ?  Can we disagree respectfully, without sliding into arrogance or ridicule?

Helping us wrestle with these questions in our annual Bishop’s Lecture will be two speakers: Mr Justin Brierley and Bishop Pete Wilcox.  They will both lecture from their experience and expertise, while also encouraging questions and conversation that will deepen our learning together.

Monday 26th February, 7.30 - 9.00pm   at the University of Sheffield:    Justin Brierley

(in the Council Chambers at the Octagon Centre, University of Sheffield, S10 2TQ). 

Tuesday 27th February, 10am - 3.45pm   at Sheffield Cathedral:      Justin Brierley & Bishop Pete Wilcox

Justin Brierley is a radio presenter and journalist based in London.  For the past ten years he has been inviting sceptics and particularly atheists to join a conversation on air at Premier Christian Radio about their objections to Christian faith.  His guests have included Philip Pullman, Susan Blackmore, A.C. Grayling, Derren Brown and Richard Dawkins, in addition to some leading proponents of other faiths.  One outcome of these conversations is his recent book: Unbelievable?  Why, after ten years of talking with atheists, I’m still a Christian. 

In his lecture on Monday evening and Tuesday morning Justin will share some of what he has learned through these conversations.  He will also help us think about how to handle our disagreements constructively and how all of us can better understand and relate to those who challenge our beliefs.

Pete Wilcox was appointed Bishop of Sheffield in 2017, moving from his previous post as Dean of Liverpool.  His books Living the Dream, Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk demonstrate his passion for enabling people to encounter God deeply through engaging with the Bible. 

For the afternoon part of our Tuesday gathering, Bishop Pete will speak on how the apostle Paul carefully framed his presentation of the Gospel to take account of his particular audience (some of them highly sceptical), as illustrated by his sermon in Athens, recorded by Luke in Acts chapter 17.  This will lead on to considering what insights each of us can gain from Paul’s approach when commending Christ to people in our particular contexts.

Bishop Pete will also preside over our midday celebration of Holy Communion at the Cathedral.


  • A light lunch is available cost £5 payablwe in cash on the day, but must be requested in advance when booking.
  • You may bring your own lunch and are encouraged to stay and eat with the others at the tables provided in the Cathedral
  • Drinks are available.

A bookstall will be available at both the Monday and Tuesday events, with a range of relevant titles, including books by both speakers. (Payment can be by cash, cheque or card.)

Timetable for Monday 26th February at the University

(for those who cannot attend Tuesday).

7.00pm               Arrivals and refreshments

7.30                     Welcome

7.35                     Commending Christ: Justin Brierley

9.00                     Closing remarks

Timetable for Tuesday 27th February

9.30am                Arrivals and refreshments

10.00                   Welcome, opening prayers

10.15                   Commending Christ: Justin Brierley

11.50                   Break

12.15.                 Holy Communion

1.00                     Lunch

2.00                     Commending Christ: Bishop Pete Wilcox

3.30                     Closing remarks, thanks and prayers

Booking is via eventbrite on the following links:

Monday Lecture at the Octagon Centre 

Tuesday Lecture at the Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Paul

Alternatively please contact Trish Stafford on with your booking request.  

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