Friday, 3 July 2015

Exegetical Tools Quarterly 1.1 (July 2015)

The inaugural volume of Exegetical Tools Quarterly has just been made available online.

It’s described as a ‘resource-driven publication to help keep you up to date on the latest and greatest resources for you, your ministry, and your research’. Each issue will contain all posts from the Exegetical Tools’ blog for the three months previous to publication, including ‘book reviews, featured resources, new books, research resources, and... posts on current issues’.

The first volume is available as a pdf here.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Centre for Public Christianity (June 2015)

Among other items, the Centre for Public Christianity has posted an audio download of a conversation between John Dickson and Peter Harrison (formerly Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford, and now Director of the Centre for the History of European Discourses at the University of Queensland) on ‘atheism, Galileo, Darwin, and the persistence of the science-religion conflict “myth”’.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Robert Plummer on the Etymological Fallacy

For his weekend editions of Daily Dose of Greek, Robert Plummer has promised a short series on common word study fallacies, beginning with the etymological fallacy, the view that the origin and history provides deeper insight into its meaning.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

International Bulletin of Missionary Research 39:3 (June 2015)

The latest issue of International Bulletin of Missionary Research carries several feature articles around the broad theme of ‘Mission in History’.

Here is a portion from J. Nelson Jennings’ Editorial:

‘However differently each of us might analyze and explain precisely how Christian mission is interwoven with the fabric of world history, it is helpful to note that the articles in this particular issue relate to people, events, and organizations of the last two centuries. The articles thus provide various examples of how missionaries, churches, and mission organizations have functioned in relation to the transition from the modern Western mission movement to the current multidirectional, worldwide mission movement. Christian mission has always had to adjust to such pivotal and epochal changes. May this issue cast further light on our ongoing journey of navigating the sometimes choppy waters of historical currents, while participating in God’s worldwide mission.

The whole issue is available as a pdf here.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

9Marks Journal (Spring 2015) on Expositional Preaching

The latest issue of the 9Marks Journal, available here as a pdf, is devoted to the topic of ‘Expositional Preaching’.

In the Editor’s Note, Jonathan Leeman writes:

‘Nuclear bombs might split or fuse atoms. But they cannot create new-heart atoms out of nothing. Preaching the Bible can, which is why preaching the Bible is central to the life of our churches. Peter says we have been born again through the living and enduring word of God. James says that God brought us forth by the word of truth. Paul teaches that faith comes from hearing. And the apostles learned it from Jesus, who said, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

The preaching which possesses this greater-than-nuclear power is preaching that exposes the Bible, or expositional preaching. Man’s wisdom does not give new life. God’s Word, accompanied by God’s Spirit, does. It possesses divine power to demolish strongholds and explode hearts of stone.’

Monday, 22 June 2015

But We Do See Jesus

I contributed this week’s ‘Word for the Week’, a weekly email service provided by the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.

There is a place where someone has testified:
‘What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
a son of man that you care for him?
You made them a little lower than the angels;
you crowned them with glory and honour
and put everything under their feet.’
In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
Hebrews 2:6-9

It sounds great, but it doesn’t ring true. The apparent upshot of Psalm 8 – that men and women are crowned with glory and honour, that we are given dominion over creation – simply doesn’t match our experience. At the same time as the psalm calls us to have a high-enough view of ourselves, it also provokes us to have a realistic view of ourselves.

Though formed in the image of God, our representation of his rule and authority in the world is distorted. To be sure, threads of beauty, compassion, and productiveness are woven into the fabric of our existence; but so are threads of darkness, disease, and disorder. In our more honest moments, we don’t need to go further than ourselves to be confronted with the twists and turns of the human heart. We walk tall, but fall short.

Plus, on top of everything else, death so clearly thwarts human dominion in the world, and no-one has found a way through that barrier.

Except, as the writer to the Hebrews tells us, there is one human being who has fulfilled the destiny for which we were made. Jesus, himself made lower than the angels, who because of his suffering and death on behalf of others, has now been crowned with glory and honour, and reigns over all things, breaking even the power of the devil and death itself (Hebrews 2:14-15). We don’t yet see God’s final plan for humanity and creation completed, ‘but we do see Jesus’. The rule of Psalm 8, which so easily eludes us, has become a reality in him.

It is sometimes suggested that Jesus has completed the command to rule first given to our first parents, and so it no longer applies to us today. But, if anything, his dominion over all things makes the creation mandate even more significant. As Christians, we are being remade in the image of Christ, restored under Christ’s lordship to what was lost in Adam and Eve so as to bring glory to God in all we do!

Precisely because we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour, whatever realm the Lord has placed us in – whatever family, job, school, course, church, and hobby – we can bear fruit in it, as men and women made and then remade in God’s image to represent and reflect the glory of his grace in all the earth.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Knowing and Doing (Summer 2015)

The Summer 2015 edition of Knowing & Doing – ‘A Teaching Quarterly for Discipleship of Heart and Mind’ – from the C.S. Lewis Institute is now available online (here as a pdf), and contains the following articles:

Chris Sicks
Jesus’ Loving Presence in the World – You!
How can believers in Christ do even greater things than Jesus did?

Julianne Panunescu 
Fully to Enjoy: An Invitation to Our Abundant Table
Julianne Panunescu, a C.S. Lewis Institute Fellow, talks about the enduring friendships made in the Fellows Program and how her group came to put together the cookbook Fully to Enjoy: An Invitation to Our Abundant Table.

Bill Kynes
How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?
Bill Kynes explores the burning question – How can a loving God send people to hell? This article is a slightly adapted version of a chapter in Bill’s recently published book Seven Pressing Questions: Addressing Critical Challenges to Christian Faith (Minneapolis: NextStep Resources, 2015).

Thomas A. Tarrants, III
Are You Growing in Grace?
Tom Tarrants teaches us how to have our lives fulfill God’s purposes for us in the world.

Gerald R. McDermott
A Thumbnail Sketch of Buddhism for Christians
Dr. McDermott provides a tremendously helpful foundational understanding of Buddhism so that we as Christian can better understand our similarities and differences.

Randy Newman
Paving the Way for Gospel Conversations
Randy Newman explains that in our day and age, when people have negative notions about religion, we may need to pave the way for gospel conversations.

Callom Harkrader
How To Speak To Your Buddhist Neighbor
In this short article, Callom Harkrader gives us tips on how to relate well with our Buddhist neighbors.

Joe Kohm 
What the Bird Said Early in the Year
Joe Kohm, City Director, C.S. Lewis Institute-Virginia Beach looks at the meaning behind the poem by C.S. Lewis.