The first full draft of this book was the text of the Hulsean Lectures, given in Cambridge in the Michaelmas Term 1996. I must therefore thank the electors for the honour they did me when they gave me the opportunity to develop my thinking in such a context. I hope that John Hulse, who endowed the post of 'Christian Advocate' in 1790 that there might be someone to 'compose some proper and judicious Answer or Answers every year, to all such new and popular or other Cavils and Objections against the Christian or Revealed Religion, or against the Religion of Nature, as may … seem … most … to deserve or require an Answer' and who required 'such his written answer to be in English, and only against notorious Infidels, whether Atheists or Deists, not descending to any particular Controversies or Sects among Christians themselves', would not have found the concern in these lectures with the reconciliation of Christians to be misplaced.
Two of the Hulsean electors in particular I must thank for their encouragement with this project and friendship over many years: Nicholas Lash, who, as Norris-Hulse Professor in the University of Cambridge for nearly twenty years resisted all manner of Cavils and Objections to the Christian Religion with the seriousness (or otherwise) they deserved, and David Ford, who, as Regius Professor, makes it his business to see that the Faculty of Divinity may properly be called a community, making its contribution fully within the scholastic community of the University.
Sections of the text were also read at a conference of the Council for Christians and Jews, two meetings of the London vi