Monday 3 July 2017

Foundations 72 (Spring 2017)

Issue 72 of Foundations: An International Journal of Evangelical Theology, published by Affinity, is now available (here in its entirety as a pdf), with the following contributions, most of them on the theme of church planting.

Ralph Cunnington

Neil Powell
The Nature and Necessity of Church-Planting Movements
This paper introduces church-planting movements and considers how they differ from both networks and institutions. It next addresses the nature of gospel partnership within such movements and the place theological vision plays in enabling and establishing a partnership. Further, the paper reflects on some of the challenges movements face, and how they may be overcome, including defining a biblical basis for such partnerships. Finally, it seeks to establish the claim that the development of church-planting movements is necessary to reach our cities and our nations for Christ. 

Philip Moore
Defending Specificity on Doctrinal Distinctives for a Church-Planting Network
Acts 29 is a church-planting network of over 630 churches from 18 different denominations in 30 countries. Acts 29, as well as subscribing to the Lausanne statement of faith, has five specific doctrinal distinctives which its members must accept whole-heartedly. Two of these are Reformed soteriology and complemantarian relationships for men and women in the home and in the church. This article argues for the legitimacy of a network setting distinctives like these as boundaries for the network, describes how Acts 29 lives them out in its different constituencies and finally shows how they relate to the church-planting mission of the network.

Neil MacMillan
Building a Church-Planting Movement in a Traditional Denomination
This article explores how we can have the best of both worlds. The dynamic growth of a church planting movement welded to the resources and depth of a traditional ecclesiastical setting. Because most European Christians belong to traditional denominations it is crucial that these institutions learn to embrace church-planting movement dynamics that can counter the decline of the church. The article begins with a definition and analysis of church-planting movements and contrasts these with the benefits of institutional environments. It is argued that movements and institutions cannot flourish without elements of the other and that it is possible to blend the best features of movement and institution in one organisation. This is followed by a case study of how the Free Church of Scotland has worked to foster a church-planting movement within its existing structures. I try to outline the processes necessary to allow this to happen and some of the challenges involved. The article concludes with a look to necessary future developments that might allow this movement to take root and mature. 

Andy Paterson
Multi-Site Church
Multi-site churches litter the American churchscape and are beginning to crop up on the British scene. This article examines what they are, how the multi-site movement arose and what biblical rationale there might be for their existence. Appeals have been made both to church history and to evangelistic success by their advocates whilst the critics major on the nature of church and its oversight. The paper investigates whether multi-site church is an end in itself, a dangerous distortion to be avoided or a pragmatic tool that might help structure a transitional phase for some church plants and mergers.

Stephen Lloyd
Chronological Creationism
This paper coins a new term, “Chronological Creationism” to describe a nuanced approach to the creation-evolution debate which is theologically, apologetically and scientifically appealing. The importance of the Bible’s chronology, both relative and absolute, is introduced and then chronological considerations are applied to a series of doctrinal issues relating to origins: Adam and humanity, Noah’s flood and the relationship between Adam’s sin and death. It is concluded that if the Bible’s relative chronology in these doctrinal areas is maintained then it is impossible to reconcile the absolute chronology of the Bible with the dating used in evolutionary history. While this presents a formidable challenge, it is only if the relative chronology of the Bible is maintained that we are able to provide coherent responses to many contemporary attacks on Christianity. Starting with the relative chronology of the Bible also allows us to develop a robust scientific approach to origins that is innovative and enriching.

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