Friday 30 September 2011

Mark Galli on Jesus Not Being Nice

Mark Galli ‘Good News: Jesus Is Not Nice’, Christianity Today (29 September 2011).

In an article adapted from his latest book, Chaos and Grace: Discovering the Liberating Power of the Holy Spirit (Baker Books), Mark Galli expounds on the disruptiveness and chaos that comes with believing in God and following Jesus.

‘The problem’, he says – ‘our temptation to make Christianity a religion of order and safety and niceness – begins with our failure to grasp who Jesus Christ is and how, in the Holy Spirit, he continues to speak and work among us. Or as Dorothy Sayers put it:

‘We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him “meek and mild,” and recommended him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies. To those who knew him, however, he in no way suggests a milk-and-water person; they objected to him as a dangerous firebrand.’

‘Jesus refuses to be put in a religious box. He’s not a nice Savior, whose goal is to make us feel better about ourselves and become well-adjusted, productive members of society. All that is well and good, and it is part of our lot in life. But this is not the mission of Jesus. He’s not interested in nice, well-adjusted people, but mostly in people who forgive and love. And sometimes he has to bring a little chaos into our lives to help us become the people he’s called us to be.’

Thursday 29 September 2011

International Bulletin of Missionary Research 35, 4 (October 2011) on Religions and the Common Good

October 2001’s issue of International Bulletin of Missionary Research (available here, via a free subscription) carries main articles on the theme of ‘religions and common good’, including one by Terry Muck on Christian witness in a multi-religious world, and one by Lamin Sanneh on religious freedom and citizenship.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 15, 2 (2011) on Global Christianity

The most recent edition of the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology is devoted to Global Christianity.

In addition to the Editorial (‘Reflections on the Great Commission’) by Stephen Wellum, and the book reviews, some articles are available as samples.

One of them is an essay by Chris Wright – ‘Truth with a Mission: Reading All Scripture Missiologically’ – which (from a quick perusal) looks very similar, if not identical, to a Grove booklet he wrote with a similar-sounding title.

Also available is an article by M. David Sills and Kevin Bagget on ‘Islam in Latin America’.

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Michael Horton on the Old Testament Law

When references in Leviticus are appealed to in discussions about same-sex sexual relationships, the argument is often trotted out along the lines of, ‘Well, what about all the other (silly/odd/outmoded) laws we no longer obey...?’ as if that becomes a clincher, barring the witness of Leviticus from having a voice in the ongoing debate.

I confess I’ve always groaned inwardly when I’ve heard or read this argument... as if no-one has ever thought before about the difficulties involved in – and thus the necessity of a hermeneutic for – moving from the ‘there and then’ of the Old Testament law to the ‘here and now’ of the Christian church.

Michael Horton offers some brief reflections here in response to that line of questioning, encouraging us to understand the law in the light of the history of redemption.

Timothy Keller on Why Work Matters

I’ve just listened to a short talk by Tim Keller (available here) on ‘Why Work Matters’.

He begins by saying that he will deal with two points:

(1) Why your work matters to God.

(2) Why God matters to your work.

His reflections on ‘why your work matters to God’ focus particularly on Martin Luther’s teaching that God loves us and distributes his gifts to others through our work. There were some fresh insights here for me, nicely presented.

His reflections on ‘why God matters to our work’ cover a number of points. He notes the need to strike some balances between extremes (e.g., between triumphalism and withdrawal in our relationship with our surrounding culture). He also says that we need to avoid saying that there is a ‘Christian’ way of doing everything. A Christian baker may not bake bread any differently from an atheist baker, but a Christian playwright isn’t likely to write plays like an atheist does. He also encourages churches to accumulate wisdom as a community, working out together what it means to be a Christian at work in different fields.

The talk ends with a brief commission of, and prayer for, workers of all kinds.

Journal of Markets and Morality 14, 1 (2011) on Theology of Work

The symposium section of a recent volume of the Journal of Markets and Morality was devoted to the theology of work, with contributions from Gene Edward Veith (whose own very helpful book on vocation has just been issued by Crossway in a revised format), Benjamin B. Phillips, John M. Yeats, Craig Vincent Mitchell, and William Messenger of the Theology of Work Project, Inc.

Moore College on Emotions in Christian Life and Ministry

The recent Moore College School of Theology was devoted to the topic of ‘True Feelings: Emotions in Christian Life and Ministry’. The audio files are online here, and include an interesting mix of biblical, theological, historical, and practical sessions.

1. The Affections of Christ

Richard Gibson

2. What is at Stake? A Cultural Overview of the Emotions

Andrew Cameron

3. The Puritans, Theological Anthropology and Emotions

Keith Condie

4. Does God Have Feelings?

Gerald Bray

5. Whose Tears? Jesus and his Emotional Life

Richard Gibson

6. Panel Discussion


7. He Rejoiced in the Spirit: The Spirit’s Perfecting Work on the Emotions

David Hohne

8. On Being Moved: A Theological Anthropology of the Emotions

Michael Jensen

9. From Sad to Mad to Glad: The Pilgrim’s Passions

Rhys Bezzant

10. Together, with Feeling: Corporate Worship and the Emotions

David Peterson

11. Preaching, the Gospels and Emotions

Peter Bolt

12. Music, Singing and the Emotions

Rob Smith

13. Plenary Q&A with Speakers, chaired by Michael Jensen

Michael Jensen

Monday 26 September 2011

Nick Spencer on the Political Bible (Parts 5-8)

Nick Spencer, Research Director at Theos, the Public Theology Think Tank, has now completed an eight-part series on ‘the political Bible’ in The Guardian. The short articles helpfully summarise aspects of his recent publication, Freedom and Order: History, Politics and the English Bible (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2011).

Parts 1-4 are linked to from here.

Parts 5-8 are as follows:

Part 5: Equality

Part 6: Welfare

Part 7: Nationhood

Part 8: Freedom and order

Dead Sea Scrolls on Google

My good friend, Brett Jordan, has drawn my attention to news of Google and The Israel Museum posting digital versions of the Dead Sea Scrolls online. Five are up so far, available here.

Gospel Communities on Mission Conference 2011

I’m looking forward to listening to the audio files of some of the sessions at the recent GCM Conference, available here.

1. GCM Collective Vision

Steve Timmis, Jeff Vanderstelt, Jonathan Dodson, David Fairchild, and Drew Goodmanson

2. What is the Gospel?

Jeff Vanderstelt

3. Gospel-Centered Discipleship

Jonathan Dodson

4. Generous Church

Steve Timmis

5. Stealth Church

Steve Timmis

6. A Movement of Multiplication

Jeff Vanderstelt

A Bug’s Life

[I contributed today’s ‘Word for the Week’, a weekly email service provided by the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity; it’s a contribution to an ongoing, but fairly unsystematic, series on Proverbs.]

Go to the ant, you sluggard;

consider its ways and be wise!

It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,

yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

How long will you lie there, you sluggard?

When will you get up from your sleep?

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest –

and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.

Proverbs 6:6-11

Four things on earth are small,

yet they are extremely wise:

Ants are creatures of little strength,

yet they store up their food in the summer...

Proverbs 30:24-25

Solomon, internationally famed for his wisdom, composer of thousands of proverbs and songs, was also a student of the natural sciences. In line with the original mandate the creator God gave to the human race, Solomon’s wisdom incorporated an accumulation of insights from the natural world, his proverbs speaking about ‘plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls’, and ‘about animals and birds, reptiles and fish’ (1 Kings 4:33).

This grounding of the wisdom tradition in creation is seen in the book of Proverbs itself, where the acquisition of sagacity involves not just the careful observation of daily life, consideration of personal experience, rumination on the know-how of others passed down through the ages, but also reflection on the created world.

Within this wider perspective, on two occasions, the wise teacher draws attention to the industriousness of one of the smallest creatures on the face of the earth – the ant.

In this case, the lesson is for the lazy person who is called to ‘go... consider... and be wise’. The sequence is important: go (shake off your inactivity), consider (observe, reflect on, and learn from the ant’s diligence), and be wise (internalise the lesson and make it habitual in your own life). Parents and teachers might like to note that the description of the ant’s commendable behaviour and the three imperatives are combined with rhetorical questions – ‘How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?’ – along with warning – ‘poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man’. Description, commands, questions, and warning – with some gentle mocking – all artfully blended together in a concern for the welfare of the community as a whole.

Centuries later, one greater than Solomon called on his listeners to ‘look at the birds of the air’ and ‘see how the lilies of the field grow’ (Matthew 6:26-30). Such wisdom, far from being a special source of knowledge for the select few, is still available – to all who have eyes to see.

Union University on the King James Bible

Union University recently hosted the ‘KJV400 Festival’, celebrating the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version of the Bible. Audio files from the conference are available for free download here.

Plenary sessions were taken by Timothy George (‘William Tyndale and the Making of the English Bible’), John Woodbridge (‘The Status of Biblical Authority Among Europeans at the Creation of the King James Bible’), and Leland Ryken (‘What Makes the King James Version Great?’ and ‘The Legacy of the King James Bible’). Several fascinating-looking Breakout sessions are also available for download.

Sunday 25 September 2011

Equip to Disciple Issues Two and Three (2011)

The second and third 2011 issues of Equip to Disciple are online here (6 MB pdf) and here (3.7 MB pdf) respectively, carrying their usual assortment of brief articles and reviews (in amongst a pile of adverts).

I’ve been particularly interested in the article on the kingdom (the first of two parts) in Issue 3, in which the editor, Charles Dunahoo, addresses issues related to the so-called ‘two kingdoms’ approach to the church and culture. (The same issue also carries a review of David VanDrunen’s recent book, Living in God’s Two Kingdoms.)

Dunahoo advocates a ‘one kingdom model’:

‘We take the position... that the kingdom, which predates the church, now has the church at the heart of the kingdom. The kingdom is one and the church is part of that kingdom with the special assignment to make disciples for the purpose of worshipping and serving God in his Kingdom... While the church’s role is not to transform culture or society, as it disciples its people to live with a biblically reformed world and life view, their witness and influence will make an impact on the culture, not by embracing it, but by living a Christlike life in every area of life’ (9).

Lausanne World Pulse (September 2011)

The themed articles in September 2011’s Lausanne World Pulse are devoted to ‘women on the cutting edge of missions’.

Leanne Dzubinski

Women on the Cutting Edge: Yesterday and Today

Only a handful of women appear on the pages of mission history and theory books. Yet that does not mean they are not integrally engaged in the worldwide cause of the kingdom. They have been since the early Church and continue to be. Dzubinski tells the stories of women such as Maria Brown and Mary Porter, who impacted their world greatly.

Loun-Ling Tan

Asian Women on the Cutting Edge of Mission: Past and Present

Traditionally, the role of Asian women was in the home. However, in church and Christian mission, many Asian women may have been overlooked for their significant impact on the churches and societies in their contexts and of their times. She discusses both historical and contemporary examples of such women.

Heidi Scheunemann

Developing Self-confidence, Life Skills, and Faith through Football Ministry in West Papua

The story of how sports, in particular football, have changed the lives of many girls in the West Papuan context.

Ute Paul

Simple Acts of Faith: My Little World in Argentina

Daily life is holy, the author writes. It is full of God. When you share it with others, you enter holy ground. That is where faithfulness, care, struggle, joy, and hope occur. Through story, the author shares how relationships are often developed in informal, creative ways.

The Executive Summary is available here, and the full version here.

John Byron on Slavery Language in the Bible

This got quite a bit of press from bibliobloggers last week, but I’ve only just managed to catch up with it.

Byron takes his cue from a clip of a discussion by members of the ESV Bible translation committee on how to translate ‘slave’ in the Bible. Byron’s comments are less addressed directly to that discussion per se, and more helpful on slavery in the Bible more generally.

The main thing I came away with was the sense that, as Byron puts it, ‘being a slave was rarely, if ever, a good thing’ – in both the Old and New Testament periods. I mention this only because of a tendency I have sensed in recent discussions to present Roman slavery in a positive light (especially as compared with, say, the forced slavery of particular races of people that we are familiar with from more recent history). As Byron says, however, ‘it is important to remember that slavery, in whatever form or time period, is not a positive experience for the enslaved’.

Of course, this makes Paul’s reference to being a ‘slave/servant of Christ’ all the more significant, with Byron suggesting that ‘in those places where Paul calls himself a “slave of Christ” he means a slave that is “owned” like a chattel slave, not a servant’.

Marc Cortez on Why Theology Matters

Here is the script of the opening devotional presented by Marc Cortez to the NW regional meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, 2011.

He asks the collection of academic biblical scholars and theologians, What are we doing here?

Theology matters, he says, ‘because we have a God who cares what we think about him’, and it matters because ‘it is worship... and it must be worship, or we’re not really doing theology’.

Friday 23 September 2011

Byron Borger on Books for Life-Long Learners 9.0

Here is the ninth in a series of notes by Byron Borger on recent books, including Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Justice in Love and Timothy George’s Reading Scriptures with the Reformers.

Gospel Centered Discipleship

Check out Gospel Centered Discipleship, which ‘exists to promote discipleship resources that help make, mature, and multiply disciples of Jesus’.

Monday 19 September 2011

D.A. Carson on the Inclusive-Language Debate

D.A. Carson, The Inclusive-Language Debate: A Plea for Realism (Leicester: IVP/Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1998), ISBN 080105835X, 221pp.

I see that the Gospel Coalition are making this book by D.A. Carson freely available as a pdf here. Very kind of them too.

I reviewed the book when it first came out in 1998, and have reposted the review below. Of course, events moved on after the publication of the book with the TNIV (Today’s New International Version) and – more recently – the new NIV. Even so, while Carson’s book will sound dated in some respects, his treatment of gender-inclusive language in Bible translation remains, in my view, extremely helpful and sensible.

So, for what it might be worth, here is what I said about the book...

The book forms a companion of sorts to Carson’s much earlier The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979). Like that one, the net is cast wider than the title alone suggests. Two of the early chapters here, for instance, are devoted to a crucial discussion of the challenge of translation in general, and the ‘translator’s nightmare’ of gender and translation in particular.

Carson begins the book by outlining the recent ‘crisis’ over the New International Version Inclusive Language Edition (NIVI, published in 1996, now withdrawn in the United States, but still available in Britain), carefully setting it against a wider historical perspective.

One of the chapters lists the guidelines on the gender-language policies of the CBT (the Committee on Bible Translation, those behind the NIV and NIVI) and the CSG (Colorado Springs Guidelines, drawn up by a collection of scholars and church leaders opposed to the NIVI). A further lengthy chapter then subjects each set of guidelines to comment and critique.

Although biblical examples are cited throughout the book, three chapters look in turn at specific Old Testament passages, New Testament passages, and passages where doctrinal issues are raised in the debate. Here Carson seeks even-handedly to weigh evidence in favour of both sides of the debate, on a case-by-case basis, sometimes deciding in favour of the NIV against the NIVI, sometimes (perhaps more times) deciding in favour of the NIVI, and sometimes preferring something else. As the sub-title says, the book is a ‘plea for realism’, which means acknowledging that both sides have raised important questions on delicate issues, along with the need to make clear ‘what we can and cannot expect from translations, and how easy it is to miss some of the big issues while focusing on the narrower and more technical ones’.

Although the book is clearly written against the background of the current debate, it would be wrong to think it is limited to those confines. Final chapters on the question of whether the English language is changing or not (Carson sides with those who think it is) and pastoral considerations make the whole book a valuable survey, shedding considerable light, and posing provocative questions to all readers.

Brian Rosner on Paul and the Law

The Annual Moore College Lectures for 2011 were delivered by Brian Rosner on ‘Paul and the Law: Keeping the Commandments of God’.

Audio files of the lectures, along with pdfs of notes to go with them, are available here.

Here is the blurb for the series:

‘The problem with understanding Paul and the law is that Paul’s letters present both negative critique and positive approval of the law. These lectures propose a hermeneutical solution to this puzzle. Rather than asking ‘which bits’ of the law Paul endorses, it is more accurate to consider Paul’s negative response to ‘the law as commandments,’ as well as his positive response to ‘the law as prophecy’ and ‘the law as wisdom’. This construal finds support not only in what Paul says about the law, but also in what he doesn’t say and in what he does with the law. And it highlights the value of the law for preaching the gospel and for Christian ethics.’

And here are the titles of the individual lectures:

Public Lecture (overview)

• Paul and the Law: Keeping the Commandments of God

Five Lecture Series

• ‘Circumcision is nothing’: The Puzzle of Paul and the Law

• ‘Not under the law’: Paul’s Repudiation of the Law as Legal Code

• ‘Under the law of Christ’: Paul’s Replacement of the Law

• ‘Witness to the gospel’: Paul’s Re-appropriation of the Law as Prophecy

• ‘Written for our instruction’: Paul’s Re-appropriation of the Law as Wisdom

Sunday 18 September 2011

The Briefing

The Briefing, from Matthias Media, which I’ve subscribed to for a number of years, was relaunched this month as a six-times-per-year 52-page magazine. In addition, all content is now freely available on the website – gathered in five main categories:

• Life – growing in godliness and holiness as we live each day as Christians

• Thought – growing in understanding and knowledge of God through his Word

• Everyday ministry – being equipped and encouraged for the nuts-and-bolts ministry that all Christians share

• Pastoral ministry – material especially, but not exclusively, for those engaged in full-time ministry

• Review – where we look at books, ministry resources, and anything else we might cast our eye over

Saturday 17 September 2011

The Bible and Critical Theory 7, 2 (2011)

The latest edition of The Bible and Critical Theory, now published in open-access format, contains the following essays around the theme of ‘Biblical Politics’:

Roland Boer

Editorial: Biblical Politics

Yvonne Sherwood

The Place of Religion in the Iconography of Democracy and the Politics/Aesthetics of ‘Representation’ (Race/Religion/Sex)

Looking (briefly) at a few test cases, this article raises some preliminary questions about crude and aporetical uses of the category ‘religion’ in European law, public policy, and what might be called the cultural aesthetics of the democratic. In particular I explore awkward updates of blasphemy legislation. Symptomatically, these a) pluralise religion to the point where lack of religion, or as the revised German criminal code of 1969 puts it Weltanschauungsvereinigungen (‘World-View Organisations’?) are welcomed under the canopy of protection, provided that they can prove quasi-religious status; and b) rework religion as a category akin to race in legislation against racial and religious ‘hate’. I also briefly probe anti-discrimination legislation in England and Wales, where a so-called ‘philosophical’ belief can qualify as religious belief, worthy of the same protection, if it can be proved that ‘it is a belief and not an opinion or view based on the present state of information available’; it is ‘genuinely held’; it is ‘compatible’ with ‘human dignity’ and ‘human rights’; it is ‘weighty and substantial’ and attains a ‘certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance’.

James Crossley

The Multicultural Christ: Jesus the Jew and the New Perspective on Paul in an Age of Neoliberalism

In a recent book I argued that the contemporary scholarly rhetoric of a ‘Jewish Jesus’ who consistently transcends the Judaism(s) constructed by scholarship is, in part, the product of dominant Anglo-American attitudes towards the Middle East over the past forty years and a dramatic change in perceptions of Israel and the Holocaust since 1967 (Crossley 2008). Underlying this ‘Jewish ... but not that Jewish’ Jesus is, clearly, an updated form of Orientalism and related understandings of Otherness and cultural difference. What I want to do in this article is to show how other dominant and complementary discourses and historical trends have contributed to this kind of understanding of both Jesus and Paul in contemporary scholarship, particularly multiculturalism in relation to neoliberalism and postmodernity. In addition to shedding further light on the strange ‘Jesus the Jew’ rhetoric, it becomes clear that the scholarly success of the much vaunted New Perspective on Paul owes much to its cultural and ideological contexts.

Mika Ojakangas

Becoming Whosoever: Re-examining Pauline Universalism

In my article I examine, on the one hand, the emergence of the idea of universal natural law in Greek antiquity and especially in Roman Stoic thought. On the other hand, I compare this philosophical universalism (universalism of logos/ratio) with Christian and especially Pauline universalism. I argue that the Pauline conception of universalism is very different from the philosophical understanding of it. It is not a category that transcends particular cultures and identities in the name of universal principles (as in Greek and Stoic thought) but rather a category that denotes a process of rupture of all principles (nomos, arche, and so on).

Roland Boer

Paul’s Uncertain Transitions

Focusing on the constitutive contradictions that run through the letters of Paul, this article offers a historical-materialist answer. In other words, it widens the analysis of Paul beyond mere literary or limited contextual questions, to ask what modes of production constitute the problem to which Paul attempts an unwitting but profoundly influential answer. That is, what socio-economic situation provides the question that Paul seeks to answer at an ideological level, thereby attempting an imaginary resolution of a real social contradiction?

Milena Kirova

Knowledge, Information and Power in the ‘Biblical’ Sense: The story of King Saul

By setting the story of Saul in 1 Samuel within its ancient literary context – Egypt and Mesopotamia – and by deploying and reshaping Foucault’s panopticism, now as ‘panaudiscism’, this article offers a reading of King Saul in a way that pays attention to ears and hearing, to the oral and the aural. In this light, Saul fate is tied in all too closely with his ability to hear, or not.

Rudolf J. Siebert

Toward a Radical Naturalistic and Humanistic Interpretation of the Abrahamic Religions: In Search for the Wholly Other than the Horror and Terror of Nature and History

In this sweeping work, Rudolf Siebert goes beyond and develops further and creatively applies the argument found in his recent three volume Manifesto in a relatively succinct form. Drawing upon the rich resources of the Critical Theory of Society of the Frankfurt School but also the vast tradition of critical philosophy and theology, Siebert offers a ‘critical’ analysis. A critical approach (from the Greek kritikos, able to discern) implies that religious phenomena are examined according to both their positive and negative impacts, with help from the critical theory of society. A critical approach is not neutral. Critical theorists of religion are engaged in informed assessments which enable action in the public sphere. Siebert’s focus is nothing less than some aspects of the three Abrahamic Religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – and their sacred writings – the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and The Holy Qur’an.

Friday 9 September 2011

The Bavinck Review 2 (2011)

About this time last year, I linked to The Bavinck Institute and their publication of The Bavinck Review, which is made freely available on the website six months after publication. The second volume (contents below) has just become available. Individual articles are available here, or the entire issue can be downloaded as a 1.6 MB pdf here.



Willem J. de Wit

“Will I Remain Standing?”: A Cathartic Reading of Herman Bavinck

Robert S. Covolo

Herman Bavinck’s Theological Aesthetics: A Synchronic and Diachronic Analysis

Timothy Shaun Price

Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck on the Subject of Education as seen in Two Public Addresses

Laurence R. O’Donnell III

Neither “Copernican” nor “Van Tilian”: Re-Reading Cornelius Van Til’s Reformed Apologetics in light of Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics

Michael S. Chen

Herman Bavinck and Augustine on Epistemology

Travis Ryan Pickell

“To See Darkness, To Hear Silence”: St. Augustine, Herman Bavinck, and the Incomprehensibility of Evil

Research Précis

Wolter Huttinga

Herman Bavinck and Radical Orthodoxy: Elements of Participation in the Reformed Dogmatics

Aart Goedvree

An Impenetrable Mystery: Herman Bavinck’s Concept of Regeneration and Its Sources

In Translation

Herman Bavinck, translated by Nelson D. Kloosterman

The Kingdom of God, The Highest Good

Pearls and Leaven

John Bolt

Herman Bavinck and Islam

Bavinck Bibliography 2010

Some Cardus Articles

As usual, the latest email update from Cardus links to some helpful pieces, including:

• John Terrill and Kenman Wong asking, ‘Serving Our Work and Neighbours: Which Comes First?’

• David T. Koyzis reviewing Victor Lee Austin’s Up With Authority: Why We Need Authority to Flourish as Human Beings (New York: Continuum, 2010), in ‘Why We Need Authority’.

• Lee Hardy, exploring vocation, in a piece first published in 2000, ‘My Job is Not My Calling | My Job is Also My Calling’.

Thursday 8 September 2011

Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert on Mission and Social Justice

Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert, What Is the Mission of the Church? Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission (Wheaton: Crossway, 2011), 288pp., ISBN 9781433526909.

Although I’m pretty certain I won’t want to say everything the way they say it, I’ve had this new book from Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert on pre-order for several months now, and am really looking forward to looking at it more closely.

A generous excerpt from the book is available here.

And here is the publisher’s description:

‘Social justice and mission are hot topics today: there’s a wonderful resurgence of motivated Christians passionate about spreading the gospel and caring for the needs of others. But in our zeal to get sharing and serving, many are unclear on gospel and mission. Yes, we are called to spend ourselves for the sake of others, but what is the church’s unique priority as it engages the world?

‘DeYoung and Gilbert write to help Christians “articulate and live out their views on the mission of the church in ways that are theologically faithful, exegetically careful, and personally sustainable.” Looking at the Bible’s teaching on evangelism, social justice, and shalom, they explore the what, why, and how of the church’s mission. From defining “mission”, to examining key passages on social justice and their application, to setting our efforts in the context of God’s rule, DeYoung and Gilbert bring a wise, studied perspective to the missional conversation.

‘Readers in all spheres of ministry will grow in their understanding of the mission of the church and gain a renewed sense of urgency for Jesus’ call to preach the Word and make disciples.’

A twelve-minute video available here – featuring the two authors and Ryan Kelly – also provides a flavour of what to expect.

Centre for Public Christianity

The Centre for Public Christianity website is well worth checking out. Their latest email newsletter contained links to the following items (a mixture of articles, audio podcasts and videos):

Today’s Sensitive New Age Dads

In light of Father’s Day Justine Toh reflects on fatherhood, images of God as a Father and the kinder, gentler Dads of today.

Religion, Violence, History and the Old Testament

Iain Provan is Professor of Biblical Studies at Regent College, Vancouver, and is a specialist in the Old Testament. In this podcast he discusses the reliability, relevance and the violence of the Old Testament.

Women in the Roman World

Lynn H. Cohick is associate professor of New Testament at Wheaton College specialising in the Origins of Christianity in the Graeco-Roman and Jewish worlds. Her latest book is Women in the World of the Earliest Christians and she spoke to CPX on that topic.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Justine Toh reflects on the end of the Harry Potter series and considers what the series has to say about love and sacrifice.

Public Religion

Dr Peter Vardy is Vice Principal of Heythrop College at the University of London, and a leading expert on religion and values education. He spoke to CPX about the place of religion in the public square and the need for religion as part of a good education.