Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Foundations 81 (Autumn 2021)


Issue 81 of Foundations: An International Journal of Evangelical Theology, published by Affinity, is now available (here in its entirety as a pdf), which includes the below essays which were first presented as papers at Affinity’s 2021 theological study conference on biblical eschatology. The summaries are take from Donald John MacLean’s editorial.


Donald John MacLean

Editorial


Rupert Bentley-Taylor

The Hopes and Fears of all the Years: The Future of the Church in this Present Age

The first paper, from Rupert Bentley-Taylor, seeks to equip believers to live in the “last days” from the perspective of “optimistic amillennialism”. We are reminded that as we await Christ’s return that victory is assured, that the preaching of the gospel to all nations is the great activity of the last days, that Satan is active seeking to deceive and persecute, that the antichrist will emerge, that we are to be watchful and that there is glory ahead of us.


Paul Yeulett

“With Me in Paradise” – Questions About the So-Called “Intermediate State”

In the second paper Paul Yeulett seeks to cover the topic, “Questions About the So-Called ‘Intermediate State’: Is it Biblical and it is Pastorally Helpful?” Paul argues that for believers the “intermediate state is such that the souls of believers, immediately after death, go to be ‘forever with the Lord’, with the risen and exalted Christ himself, which Paul declared to be ‘far better’ (Phil 1:23)”. After an interesting historical overview, Paul argues persuasively from scripture for his position.


Michael Horton

The End is Not the Beginning... In Fact, Not Even the End

Michael Horton of Westminster Seminary California provides the third paper which gives us an “investigation into what the Early Church Fathers, especially Irenaeus and Origen, understood about the human body, soul and spirit, especially in the light of Christ’s ascension and the eternal state.” Aside from the historical theology, and answers to questions like “So, will there be hairdressers in heaven?” we are treated to a rich biblical theological study of Psalm 68 in the light of its citation in Ephesians 4.


Gareth Burke

All Israel will be Saved: The Future of “Israel” with particular reference to Romans 11:26a

The fourth paper covers the much-debated question of the Pauline references to the future of Israel in Romans 11… After providing an outline of Paul’s teaching in Romans through to the end of chapter 11 we are given an exegesis of Rom 11:25-27, and in particular v26a, “And in this way all Israel will be saved.” The paper supports the exegetical position of John Murray that this verse (indeed Romans 11 more generally) teaches a future conversion of national Israel.


Paul Mallard 

The Business of Heaven

The fifth, and final, paper from Paul Mallard provides us with biblical and pastoral reflections on the nature and character of the world to come. In this paper we are treated to discussion of the location of the heavenly life, the nature and the activities of the heavenly life, what the Bible sees as the primary business of heaven (the enjoyment of God) and the practical and pastoral implications of these topics.


Book Reviews

Monday, 29 November 2021

Evangelical Review of Theology 45, 4 (November 2021)


The latest Evangelical Review of Theology, published by The World Evangelical Alliance, is now online and available in its entirty as a pdf here.


Introduction: Articles with a Long Shelf Life


Thomas Schirrmacher

Paul Was a Religious Extremist Too


Andrew Messmer

The Inspiration, Authority and Inerrancy of Scripture in the History of Christian Thought

This article traces attitudes towards the Bible amongst leading Christian thinkers from the early church to the present, showing that (with some change in how the concepts have been understood) the church has generally affirmed the Bible’s inspiration, authority and inerrancy ever since the formation of the New Testament canon. Organized into four major time periods, the article should be a valuable resource for all who wish to uphold the Bible’s credibility.


Glenn N. Davies

The Relation between Biblical Law and Christian Faith

This article masterfully, through parallel sections with ample scriptural support, depicts the continuity of God’s dealing with humanity across both Old Testament and New Testament times with regard to law, grace and obedience.


Dennis P. Petri

Christians in Cuba: Dealing with Subtle Forms of Repression

The restrictions on religious freedom imposed by the Cuban state – a direct consequence of the authoritarian nature of the regime and its atheist and anti- religious ideology – are well-known. Much less understood is the subtle nature of the vulnerability of Christians, especially after the changes that have occurred since the 1990s. This article examines their situation in depth.


Peirong Lin

Building the Kingdom of God in Europe: Reflecting Theologically on One’s Self-Understanding

In this short essay, the WEA’s Deputy Secretary General, a Singapore native now working in Europe, reflects on her experience as a foreign woman in a male- dominated, sometimes unfriendly context and develops an understanding of how she – and, by extension, all of us – can build the kingdom of God each day, wherever we are.


Ebenezer Yaw Blasu and Joshua D. Settles

The ‘Surprise’ in Mission History: Prospects for African Cross-Cultural Mission to the West

The Christian mission enterprise has grown greatly in multi-cultural understanding since the famed Edinburgh World Missionary Conference of 1910, but in some ways, Western Christianity still strains to open itself to the empowering influences of the burgeoning church in Africa. This article reviews historical developments, through a fascinating comparison between 1910 and 2010, and offers concrete suggestions from an African perspective.


James Reiher

The Letter to Philemon: Its Background and Enduring Significance

Philemon is a short letter with a compelling – but implicit – story line. This article carefully investigates the main theories as to what lay behind the fascinating interaction of Paul, Philemon and Onesimus and identifies the contemporary applications we can make regardless of which theory is true.


D. Apostle

Locust Attacks in India and in the Book of Joel: Are They the Same?

COVID-19 and other natural threats have intensified speculation amongst various Christian groups as to whether ‘the end is near’. This article responds to one recent set of speculations, following the severe locust attacks of 2020 in India and parts of Africa, and suggests a more reasoned response to the question of whether they fulfil Joel’s prophecies.


Book Reviews

Monday, 22 November 2021

Didache 21, 1 (2021)


The latest issue of Didache (sponsored by the International Board of Education of the Church of the Nazarene) is now online. The summaries are taken from Dean Blevins’ Introduction. It, and the individual essays, are available from here.


Dean G. Blevins

Introduction


Douglas S. Hardy

The Journal of Christian Spiritual Formation

The edition opens with Dr. Douglas Hardy’s working platform for spiritual formation with ministry students in mind. His journey model, anchored in the concept of persons-in-relation and dedicated to the love of God and neighbor, follows the writing of Lancelot Andrewes to provide guidelines for spiritual formation.


G. Michael Leffel

Embodied Virtue: A Model of Virtuous Caring for Practical Theology and Christian Formation

Mike Leffel then offers a comprehensive guide to moral formation in love, particularly a love that cares for others. Leffel draws from his extensive background in moral psychology to develop a powerful dialog with Randy Maddox’s exploration of John Wesley’s moral affectional psychology. The dialog results in a new strategy for shaping the moral virtues of congregants and clergy alike in the future. Leffel’s work undergirds a new initiative by Point Loma Nazarene University’s Center for Pastoral Leadership, and Nazarene Theological Seminary, to offer a new curriculum that guides people into a caring love for others reminiscent of the parable of the Good Samaritan, a much-needed approach to our current divisive culture.


Ernesto Lozano Fernández

Christian Faith Formation and the Process of Transformation in the Wesleyan Spirit

Ernesto Lozano Fernández surveys the language of transformative education to provide a renewed vision of faith formation in a Wesleyan tradition to serve his current context of Peru and South America in general.


Zachariah Ellis

A Brief History of Shared Leadership in the Church of the Nazarene

Zach Ellis explores the new, yet old, vision of shared leadership both in the Wesleyan tradition and particularly in the Church of the Nazarene. Ellis’ survey reminds readers of the power of shared leadership versus more hierarchical models of oversight and control that often dominate during times of fear and uncertainty.


Dean G. Blevins

Outcome or Ability? Recovering Excellence in Theological Education

Blevins’ article provides an accounting of the challenges of both classically minded theological training and contemporary outcomes-based education for clergy education, particularly in the USA/Canada Region of the Church of the Nazarene. While regionally based, hopefully, the accounting provides insights into the myriad influences to clergy education and offers one response by moving to a virtues-related approach that might preserve the integrity, and intensity, of ministry disciplines.


Dan Boone

The Role of the Christian University in the Church of the Nazarene

Dan Boone reprises an earlier article on the importance of Nazarene Higher Education. That article opens with a reflection upon the USA crisis of 9/11, and it seems appropriate to return and update this writing considering the twenty-year anniversary of that event if only to remind the church of the pressing need for higher education to provide both critical investigation and civil discourse in the face of new and continuing crises. The writing reflects both the continuing insights of Dr. Boone but also the reflective heart of the late Ed Robinson. In a season of confrontation and control, higher education provides a careful, deliberative, response.

Friday, 19 November 2021

Christian History Magazine on Christian Civic Engagement


The latest issue of Christian History Magazine is devoted to the topic of ‘City of Man: Christian Civic Engagement through the Ages’.


Here’s the issue blurb:


‘How do Christians live as citizens of a fallen world? The question of civic engagement is one that the church has been asking since its earliest days, and this is how it has often answered: This world is not our ultimate home, but we must work for its good while we live in it. Meet the believers who sought to live faithfully in the world without being consumed by it; sometimes by working hand-in-hand with the state; sometimes enduring its persecution. Discover how they did all these things as a way to follow Jesus in this issue of CH.’


The whole magazine is available as a 11.4 MB pdf here.

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Mission Frontiers 43, 6 (November-December 2021)


The November-December 2021 issue of Mission Frontiers, published by the U.S. Center for World Mission, contains a number of articles exploring the question: ‘Think you have a biblical worldview?’


Here is the issue blurb, which sets the scene:


‘The mission of God is a battle for the hearts and minds of billions of people, both inside and outside the Church. All truth is God’s truth and we must conform our beliefs, values and thinking to His truth. How we think about God and ourselves affects everything else in the world since our thinking affects our actions. The battles we face in the physical world such as poverty, disease, war, human trafficking, and on and on, are at their roots a battle for the mind. This is why God calls us to renew our minds and take every thought captive to Christ. Bad thinking leads to bad outcomes both personally and globally. All the crises we face in the world are, in reality, a spiritual/worldview crisis.


‘This issue focuses on how our worldviews are shaped, and how we can review, refine and renew those worldviews to align with the perspective that God wants for us.’


The issue is available here, from where individual articles can be downloaded, and the entire issue can be downloaded as a pdf here.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

International Journal for Religious Freedom


I recently came across the International Journal for Religious Freedom, the journal of the International Institute for Religious Freedom.


The IJRF ‘aims to provide a platform for scholarly discourse on religious freedom and persecution. It is an interdisciplinary, international, peer reviewed journal, serving the dissemination of new research on religious freedom and contains research articles, documentation, book reviews, academic news and other relevant items’.


Individual articles or the full copy of the latest issue can be downloaded free of charge here.

Friday, 12 November 2021

Credo 11, 3 (2021) on Confessions


The current issue of Credo is available, this one devoted to the topic of the ‘We Believe: Confessions Every Christian Should Read’.


Here’s the blurb:


‘If holy scripture is sufficient and authoritative, why do we need confessions? Retrieving the time-tested wisdom of the church’s confessions does not contradict but complements a high view of scripture. Confessions, at their best, serve to keep the church faithful, holding both the layman and pastor alike accountable to scriptural truth. In our biblically illiterate society, the historic confessions can help us regain and retain biblical orthodoxy, the faith once for all delivered to the saints. It is to our peril if we ignore the witness of the past, inviting the heresies of yesterday into the church of today. But when we declare these confessions together, we identify ourselves with our family history, a faithful lineage of believers who have fought hard to offer a mature articulation of the faith. In this issue of Credo Magazine, readers are introduced to some of the most important Protestant confessions and summoned to listen with humility for the sake of our present and future fidelity.’


Individual articles, along with interviews and book reviews, are available to read from here.