Monday 19 October 2015

Andy Bannister on Atheism and Apologetics

Andy Bannister, The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist: Or: The Dreadful Consequences of Bad Arguments (Monarch Books, 2015).

Andy Bannister is the Canadian Director for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. He speaks regularly to audiences of all kinds on issues of faith and scepticism, and his joyously breezy approach is wonderfully captured in this book. Andy pricks the bubble that atheism has recently become, with its assumption that it’s the most ‘reasonable’ position to be adopted by contemporary urbanites. He’s adept at exposing the holes in poor arguments, but does so with a cheeky winsomeness. There’s plenty of humour here, and it will either have you laughing out loud or groaning out loud, or perhaps both. This is a book to read for yourself if you’re nervous about atheism’s apparent success, but it can also be given with confidence to your sceptical-but-interested friends. As Andy points out, arguments don’t win someone for Christ, but they might help remove the obstacles that prevent them from seeing Jesus clearly in the first place.

Sunday 18 October 2015

The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 19, 2 (2015)

The latest issue of the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology is devoted to ‘Theology and Economics’, with an interesting line-up of essays indicated below.

Stephen Wellum writes in the Editorial:

‘Living as we do in an increasingly secularized and relativistic age, the church, for a variety of reasons, has too often dichotomized the Christian life. Too frequently, we have artificially separated our spiritual life from our everyday life, and one of its consequences is our disengagement from society. But given that God has created us to rule over his creation, to work, to be salt and light in the world, and to apply God’s Word to our entire lives, Scripture reminds us that our Lord is not only interested in our spiritual lives, he is also interested in us as whole people. Biblical salvation involves every aspect of our lives in relation to God, the world, and to others.’

Individual essays can be accessed from here, or the whole issue can be downloaded as a pdf here.

Stephen J. Wellum
Editorial: Living All of Life to God’s Glory

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
Economics and the Christian Worldview: 12 Theses

David Kotter
Greed vs. Self-Interest: A Case Study of How Economists Can Help Theologians Serve the Church

Mark Coppenger
Stewardship of the Wetlands below the Golan Heights: A Study in Judeo-Christian and Muslim Contrasts

Gregg Allison
Why Are You Here? Heavenly Work vs. Earthly Work

John Wind
Not Always Right: Critiquing Christopher Wright’s Paradigmatic Application of the Old Testament to the Socio-economic Realm

Jason Glas
The Gospel, Human Flourishing, and the Foundation of Social Order

Pieter DeVries
Living in Truth: Unmasking the Lies of our Postmodern Culture

Thursday 15 October 2015

Christian History Magazine on Martin Luther

The latest issue of Christian History Magazine is the first of a promised four issues on the Reformation, this one looking at Martin Luther.

The whole magazine is available as a 9.2 MB pdf here.

Monday 5 October 2015

The Whole of Life for Christ (7): Whole-Life Worship

I contributed today’s ‘Word for the Week’, a weekly email service provided by the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity. It’s the last in a series introducing themes explored more fully in the book, The Whole of Life for Christ: Enriching Everyday Discipleship, written with Mark Greene.

And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
Deuteronomy 10:12-13

‘You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honour and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being...’
In a loud voice they were saying:
‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honour and glory and praise!’
Revelation 4:11 and 5:12

It should come as no surprise that the Lord of the whole of life requires worship in the whole of life. In the Old Testament, we see it in regulations that touch on every aspect of daily existence, in psalms which embrace the highs and lows and everything in between, in prophets who call for justice and mercy as well as sacrifice and singing. As Deuteronomy 10:12-13 captures it, all of life was to be an expression of service to the Lord.

That’s completely in line with what Paul says in Romans 12:1-2 – where bodies, minds and wills are offered back to God – reminding us that the Old and New Testament stand together on the necessity of whole-life worship. Across Scripture, acceptable worship is not simply a matter of praising God in music and singing, or of participating enthusiastically in rites and ceremonies; it involves honouring, serving, and revering God in every sphere of life.

And it all flows out of his grace towards us. The biblical story line from beginning to end allows us to trace the acts of God on behalf of the people of God and our response to the Lord in worship.

In the book of Revelation, John sees a door standing open in heaven. He’s given a vision of reality from God’s perspective. For the small and weak communities of believers scattered around what is now Turkey, John sees that the true account of the world is revealed not only in the Creator God who reigns over all things, but in Christ crucified who redeems all things.

The worship that John witnesses nourishes our identity and mission as the body of Christ – because it’s focused above all on Christ himself, who is uniquely qualified to bring to pass God’s redemptive purposes in the world. The scope of what God might be pleased to do through us in our everyday lives – our whole of life for Christ – is rooted in what God has done, is doing, and will do for us and for all creation.

So, John’s vision of worship becomes a call to worship, an expression of allegiance in a world of competing allegiances, a way of declaring who’s really in charge, as we allow our worship of God and the Lamb to permeate everything we think and say and do, and invite others to do the same.

Saturday 3 October 2015

Journal of Global Christianity

The Journal of Global Christianity, published twice a year by Training Leaders International, ‘seeks to promote international scholarship and discussion on topics related to global Christianity’, addressing ‘key issues related to the mission of the Church in hope of helping those who labor for the gospel wrestle with and apply the biblical teaching on various challenging mission topics’.

Two issues have been published so far (in five languages), containing a variety of essays along with several book reviews. The current issue is available here, from where individual essays or a pdf of the whole issue can be viewed or downloaded.

Thursday 1 October 2015

David and Heather Jackman on Marriage

The latest Cambridge Paper from the Jubilee Centre is available online, this one by David Jackman and Heather Jackman:

Here is the summary:

‘The broad and pervasive “trend away from marriage” has far-reaching implications for society as a whole, as well as for Christians who come under pressure to conform to cultural standards. In contrast to the short-term and low-commitment relationships that have fast become the norm, the Bible holds out a positive vision for marriage, based on God’s covenant relationship with his people, and offers us the hope of communicating an attractive model of marriage to those who adhere to very different values.’