Monday 14 August 2023

Foundations 84 (July 2023)

Issue 84 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.

Donald John MacLean


Peter Sanlon

Glories That Form and Deform Identity: The Roads Ahead

This paper seeks to analyse what has become the main presenting issue of the day for western culture, that of identity. This question penetrates a good deal deeper than the vexed matters of gender, sexuality and ethnicity; essentially it comes down to a clear and binary choice: whom do we love, worship and glorify – self or God? The quest for self-realisation and self-fulfilment may take many forms, from pornography to conspiracy theories to a culture of ‘victimhood’, but each of these are diverse expressions of the same fundamental motivation – to worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever – Amen! (Rom 1:25). Against all this, the next generation is summoned to walk ‘The Road Less Travelled’, where we gather under the cross of Jesus Christ.

Robin Gray

Divine Light and Holy Love: Genuine Conversions in the Works of Jonathan Edwards

This paper opens up the key question of genuine conversion by delving deep into the mind of Jonathan Edwards (1703–58) on the subject, and in particular, his Religious Affections, which were the mature fruit of Edwards’ deep reflection, years after many striking and ‘surprising’ events in his own ministry. Few minds have thought as hard and as deeply as Edwards about the subject of conversion, but fewer by far have written about the subject as incisively as he did. Whilst many other scholars and pastors have very helpfully brought Edwards’ thinking to the attention of the contemporary church, this paper, as it succinctly summarises Edwards’ main observations, will undoubtedly prove to be a precious additional resource in the hands of twenty-first-century pastors, not only in evaluating professed conversions in their own churches but in keeping a close watch on their own souls (1 Tim 4:16).

Phil Heaps

Sanctification and Consistent Godly Living

This paper will lead us to the Sermon on the Mount and to the Beatitudes in particular (Matt 5:3-12) demonstrating that this ‘Jesus Seminar’ is unparalleled as ‘a discipleship course for the 2020s’. Here is material which is intensely practical and yet is addressed directly to the human heart; here is a masterclass for the formation of Christian character but one which is to be worked out in the corporate context of the church. The Lord Jesus Christ – and the Beatitudes are, supremely, a delineation of Christ’s own spiritual character – calls his people to a radical obedience which is motivated by humility, ‘poverty of spirit’ (Matt 5:3) but which is the only path to the growth for which God looks, growth in holiness.

Mark Thomas

Pastoring the Twenty-First Century Church

This paper begins with the tremendous, transcendental reality that God himself is the Pastor of his people (Ps 23:1, 80:1), and then fleshes out in detail how the pastoral office of the undershepherd is described in Scripture. Throughout, the calling of the pastor is described and illustrated with many examples in the Reformation and Puritan tradition – not least from the ‘three Bs’ of Bucer, Baxter and Bridges. The climactic feature of this paper is its recognition and analysis of contemporary culture and how it impinges on young people attached to churches. Whilst there are timeless issues and considerations that every pastor and church must face, there are some that are peculiar to today, and pastors are urged to face up to these – they include anxiety, exhaustion, ‘influences’ and, as in Paper 1, the whole question of ‘identity’.

Patrick Fung

Faithfulness Amidst Trials and Persecution

This paper begins with an in-depth treatment of the narrative of persecution in Luke-Acts, showing how it was first directed against Jesus and then against his disciples. The key consideration is not simply that persecution happened, but that the early church needed to know how to respond to it. The next section of the paper we describe in detail the Boxer Uprising in China in 1900 and in particular the response of the church, exemplified in the approach of Dixon Edward Hoste (1861–1946), Hudson Taylor’s successor as leader of the China Inland Mission. Hoste’s approach was humble, gracious, visionary and deeply instructive for the church today. We conclude with a survey of the state of anti-Christian persecution in the world today, both ‘east’ and ‘west’, and calls us to prayerful, patient, self-denying witness.

Sarah Allen

Review Article: Complementarianism

Book Review

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