Monday 30 November 2015

Credo Magazine 5, 4 (2015)

The current issue of Credo is available, this one devoted to John Owen (2016 sees the four hundredth anniversary of his birth).

Matthew Barrett writes in the Editorial:

‘It is hard to exaggerate the importance and influence of Owen’s life and writings. His books were and still are some of the best works in theology that we have, standing alongside those of Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and many others...

‘What is so remarkable about Owen, however, is not merely the robust, biblical nature of his writings, but his insistence that theology affects the Christian life. In other words, Owen refused to separate head and heart. Doctrine must lead to doxology every time, otherwise we have not truly understood its purpose. Therefore, Owen is the Doctor who looks into the human soul in order to diagnose our spiritual disease and offer us a cure in Jesus Christ.’

The magazine is available to read here, and an 11 MB pdf of the whole issue can also be downloaded here.

Saturday 28 November 2015

Ray Van Neste on Bibles and Bible Resources in 2015

It’s that time of the year when people start posting their best reads of 2015. I always look forward to Ray Van Neste’s contribution, who provides a full survey of Bibles and Bible resources produced during the year. Hs summary of 2015 starts here.

Thursday 26 November 2015

Michael Gorman on Paul in One Sentence

I’ve been preparing for a session on Paul, and have been rereading Michael Gorman’s introductory overview of Paul’s theology, Reading Paul (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2008). His opening chapter has a wonderful one-sentence summary in which he offers what he calls ‘a glimpse of Paul’s grand scheme’, which goes like this:

‘Paul preached, and then explained in various pastoral, community-forming letters, a narrative, apocalyptic, theopolitical gospel (1) in continuity with the story of Israel and (2) in distinction to the imperial gospel of Rome (and analogous powers) that was centered on God’s crucified and exalted Messiah Jesus, whose incarnation, life and death by crucifixion were validated and vindicated by God in his resurrection and exaltation as Lord, which inaugurated the new age or new creation in which all members of this diverse but consistently covenantally dysfunctional human race who respond in self-abandoning and self-committing faith thereby participate in Christ’s death and resurrection and are (1) justified, or restored to right covenantal relationship with God and with others; (2) incorporated into a particular manifestation of Christ the Lord’s body on earth, the church, which is an alternative community to the status-quo human communities committed to and governed by Caesar (and analogous rulers) and by values contrary to the gospel; and (3) infused both individually and corporately by the Spirit of God’s Son so that they may lead “bifocal” lives, focused back on Christ’s first coming and ahead to his second, consisting of Christlike, cruciform (cross-shaped) (1) faith and (2) hope toward God and (3) love toward both neighbors and enemies (a love marked by peaceableness and inclusion), in joyful anticipation of (1) the return of Christ, (2) the resurrection of the dead to eternal life, and (3) the renewal of the entire creation.’

Michael J. Gorman, Reading Paul (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2008), 8.

The Asbury Journal 70, 2 (2015)

The latest issue of Asbury Journal, containing a few interesting-looking articles (I’ll definitely be checking out the one on Brueggemann and the one on preaching Isaiah), is available from here.

W. Creighton Marlowe
The Meaning and Missional Significance of “Call on the Name YHWH”

David Bundy
Pietist and Methodist Roots of the Société des Missions Évangéliques de Paris

George E. Hendricks and M. Elton Hendricks
Mr. Wesley, Since you Wanted to Help the Poor, Why did you Ignore the English Poor Law of your Day?

Zaida Maldonado Pérez
We Love God, the Holy Spirit!

Rachel L. Coleman
Walter Brueggemann’s Enduring Influence on Biblical Interpretation

Bill Thompson
Preaching Isaiah’s Message Today

Monday 23 November 2015

Lausanne Global Analysis 4, 6 (November 2015)

The latest issue of Lausanne Global Analysis, from The Lausanne Movement, with three of the articles looking at the impact of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation held in Cape Town in 2010.

In the issue overview, editor David Taylor says:

‘In this issue we focus in three of our articles on the impact and legacy – five years on – of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation held in Cape Town in 2010. Our Executive Director/CEO Michael Oh and Director of Executive Projects Justin Schell analyse the fruit of the Congress, emphasising particularly taking a long view of the work of global mission; Michael’s predecessor Doug Birdsall, who organised Cape Town, offers his personal reflection on the conference’s legacies; and Rudolf Kabutz focuses on the impacts of it in Africa, as well as the key issues for Christians in Africa going forward.’

The executive summary is available here, and the full issue is available here.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Theos Report on Proselytism

The latest report from Theos has recently been published:

Here’s the summary blurb:

‘Critics of religion argue that the threat of proselytism is one of the key reasons why faith-based organisations should not have a greater role in providing public services, or receive any public money.

‘The word, which traditionally simply meant the attempt to persuade someone to change their religion, now implies using power and position or taking advantage of the vulnerable to recruit new adherents. However, there’s confusion about the boundaries between what is and isn’t legitimate when it comes to the public articulation of faith.

The Problem of Proselytism explores three areas where faith-based organisations do need to exercise caution: prioritising the public good, respecting the dignity of religious and other minorities and protecting vulnerable service users. It argues that faith-based organisations don’t need to secularise in order to head off these concerns. Indeed, they should be transparent and consistent in setting out how what they do is different to purely secular providers, particularly when it comes to offering spiritual care. The report offers a rigorous analysis of the debate around proselytism today, drawing on the findings of a range of interviews. It describes ‘full fat’, ‘half fat’ and ‘low fat’ approaches to faith-based social action, arguing that each will and should have a different kind of relationship with statutory providers or funding.

‘The report calls for openmindedness from decision makers, with responsible and reflective social action on the part of faith-based organisations.’

A pdf of the full report is available here.

Sunday 15 November 2015

Centre for Public Christianity (November 2015)

Among other items, the Centre for Public Christianity has posted a video interview with David Smith on ‘what it means to learn from – and even love – the stranger’, and an audio interview with Trevor Hart on art, theology, and imagination, exploring ‘the relationship between art and the Church, the idea of God as an artist, human creativity, and the way art points us to the divine’.

Friday 13 November 2015

Collin Hansen et al. on Revisiting ‘Faithful Presence’

2010 saw the publication of James Davison Hunter’s To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World (Oxford: Oxford University Press), which has exercised considerable influence in the broader discussion of Christian engagement in society and culture. In my reading of much of the literature in this area, Hunter’s advocation of a ‘faithful presence’ on the part of Christians seems to have struck a chord, even if many still want to say ‘yes, but...’

With that in mind, I was very interested to see that Collin Hansen has edited a collection of essays from several contributors and published The Gospel Coalition’s first eBook, Revisiting ‘Faithful Presence’: To Change the World Five Years Later, which engages with Hunter’s essential thesis and its effect on reflection in this area.

More information, including Hansen’s Introduction to the book can be found here. Very generously, the book is made available for free in various formats, including as a pdf which can be downloaded here.

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Michael Wittmer on Becoming Worldly Saints

Michael Wittmer, Becoming Worldly Saints: Can You Serve Jesus and Still Enjoy Your Life? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015).

Grounded firmly in Scripture, and written with verve and wit, here’s a book that offers a powerful vision of the Christian life that embraces the whole of life. ‘Worldly Saints’ might seem like a contradiction in terms, but it’s what we’re called to be. As God’s holy people, we must be also ‘worldly’ – enjoying creation, looking after our family, loving friends, working hard, resting well, and excelling in our cultural tasks. If being a Christian becomes an obstacle to being human, then something has gone wrong. Tracing the story of salvation from Genesis to Revelation, the book provides an engaging and compelling reminder of the deep and wide nature of the gospel. The God who created all things is the God who will restore all things, and who calls us to flourish in his liberating lordship in every aspect of life.

Brian Russell on Missional Hermeneutics

Brian Russell (whose blog is well worth checking out) has posted online three short videos – Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 – introducing missional hermeneutics (as part of a course he teaches on the Old Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary).

He has a book coming out in the not-too distant future which explores missional hermeneutics more fully, which I’m looking forward to reading: (re)Aligning with God: Reading Scripture for Church and World (Eugene: Cascade, forthcoming 2015/2016).

Monday 2 November 2015

Mission Frontiers 37, 6 (November-December 2015)

The November-December 2015 issue of Mission Frontiers, published by the U.S. Center for World Mission, contains a number of articles honouring the 50th anniversary of Fuller Theological Seminary's School of Intercultural Studies, formerly  known as the School of World Mission.

Guest Editor Jeff Minard writes:

‘Fuller Theological Seminary performed an innovative work 50 years ago when they opened the School of World Mission (SWM), which later changed its name to the School of Intercultural Studies (SIS). A separate school focused on mission is common today among seminaries, but it wasn’t then...

‘We present excerpts of articles written by several faculty at the School of Intercultural Studies. The following pieces are excerpts from the forthcoming volume by IVP Academic, Mission with Innovation: Retrospect and Prospect in the Field of Missiology, edited by Charles Van Engen, scheduled for publication in October 2016.’

Individual articles can be accessed from here, and the whole issue (8.3 MB) can be downloaded as a pdf here.