Thursday 23 January 2020

Asbury Journal 74, 2 (2019)

The latest issue of Asbury Journal is now available, containing the below articles. The entire issue is available as a pdf here.

From the Editor

David R. Bauer
The Theme of Mission in Matthew’s Gospel From the Perspective of the Great Commission
Presented as the keynote paper at the Advanced Research Program’s Interdisciplinary Colloquium, held October 12, 2018. The Theme was the “Theology of Mission as an Interdisciplinary Enterprise.” This paper explores the theology of mission found in the Gospel of Matthew through the lens of the Great Commission, using the tools of Inductive Biblical Studies. The Gospel of Matthew has mission as a central focus, even though Matthean scholars often overlook this focus. The paper argues three essential conclusions. First, the theme of universal mission is of critical importance in Matthew’s Gospel. Second, Matthew insists that all the major themes in his Gospel, even Christology, must be understood finally within the framework of mission. Third, the Great Commission is intimately connected with Matthew’s Gospel in the large and must be interpreted specifically in light of its function within the entire Gospel. These conclusions are explored throughout the remainder of the paper.

Jerry Breen
An Ancient Hope: Matthew’s Use of Isaiah to Explicate Christianity’s Mission to the Nations
The early church explained their story within the context of the story of Israel contained in the Hebrew scripture. The life and death of Jesus indicated that God was doing something new and amazing, but it could not be understood apart from God’s ancient promises of hope delivered through the prophets. Each of the writers of the New Testament quote and allude to the story of Israel in their works, but perhaps none more than Matthew. This paper explicates Matthew’s use of Isaiah to demonstrate that Jesus fulfills the promised restoration of Israel so that Israel can be a light to the nations. This study can help the reader understand how Matthew uses Isaiah to achieve his narrative purposes by identifying which significant themes Matthew has applied to his presentation of Jesus.

Sochanngam Shirik 
Epistemological Foundation for Contemporary Theology of Mission: Trajectories from a Conversation Between J. Andrew Kirk and John Hick
With the expansion of Christianity comes different ways of expressing the Christian faith. When new ways of conceiving Christian faith are presented, old models are challenged. Sometimes, tensions arise. During such transition, our epistemological convictions play an important role in the decision we make. J. Andrew Kirk and John Hick’s positions are two examples. While both care deeply about Christianity and peoples of other faiths, the conclusions that they reach from their different epistemological stances are telling in their differences, indicating the crucial role that epistemology plays in mission. As representatives of a broader group, their positions remind us of the importance of assessing our epistemic positions in relation to mission, especially in thinking about our theology of mission. This article presents and evaluates their epistemological positions and uses them as catalysts for conversations in exploring the theology of mission. The aim of this article is to illustrate the need for critically assessing the epistemological assumptions behind our theological positions so that we can effectively navigate the terrain of shifting theological paradigms in mission.

Kristina Whiteman
Blessed Is the Kingdom: The Divine Liturgy as Missional Act
In the last 20 years, the Protestant Church has undergone a revolution in its self-understanding through the Missional Church movement. However, with its emphasis on changing forms of worship and on sending people out from the Church, the Missional Church discussion has been inaccessible (or even antithetical) to Eastern Orthodox Christians. This paper proposes a new way for Orthodox to enter the conversation, to contribute in a spirit of collaboration. With the goal of overcoming East/West theological differences by recognizing the inherent missionality of Orthodoxy’s most central service, the Divine Liturgy, this paper will: explain the centrality of the Divine Liturgy to Orthodoxy, describe the general missional flow of the Divine Liturgy, and give specific examples of ways that various parts of the Divine Liturgy directly contribute to the Inward-Outward missional nature of the Divine Liturgy. Finally, some conclusions will be offered as to what the Divine Liturgy as a Missional Act might mean in the daily lives of the Faithful.

Philip F. Hardt
The Capital of Methodism: The New York Station: 1800-1832
For the first three decades of the nineteenth century, the New York Station could easily be considered the pre-eminent circuit in American Methodism. During this period, highly dedicated, extremely gifted, and deeply evangelistic preachers and laity and the newly relocated Book Concern joined forces in an unparalleled way to impact the station and, in some cases, the entire denomination. This occurred within a rapidly growing city with tremendous commercial importance, especially in shipping. As a result, the New York Station developed a uniqueness that was unmatched in the denomination. Two of the ways it differed from a more traditional circuit were its deployment of stationed and local preachers on the Lord’s Day and its rapid response to benevolent, educational, evangelistic, and missional needs.

Fred Guyette
The Apostle Paul: A Transformed Heart, A Transformational Leader
When we first meet Paul in Acts 8, his zeal for the Law leads him to persecute Christians. After Paul’s conversion, however, his great zeal is transformed by God’s love. Motivated by agape-love, he founds many new churches in the Mediterranean world. Throughout his letters, Paul makes use of the “one another” commands (allelon) to help strengthen the solidarity of these communities, a message that the church in Corinth certainly needs to hear. The Letter to the Philippians describes Christ’s “downward mobility,” which runs counter to the shame/honor code that characterizes the Roman Empire. In a final section, I show how Paul is a transformative leader in three settings, micro, meso, and macro. (1) In his letter to Philemon, Paul seeks creative change at the level of face-to-face interaction. (2) When he works on the collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem, he is trying to transform relationships on a meso-level. (3) Paul’s encounters with Greek philosophy (Acts 17) and Roman law (Acts 21-26) show how he seeks to transform discussion of public theology on a macro-level.

Matt Ayars
Wesleyan Soteriology and the New Perspective of Paul: A Comparative Analysis
This essay offers a comparative analysis of Wesleyan soteriology and Pauline soteriology as interpreted by the New Perspective of Paul (NPP). The analysis unfolds against the backdrop of Wesley’s and the NPP’s mutual criticism of the reformed tradition’s configuration of the forensic metaphor for justification at the center of biblical soteriology. The opening section surveys the various aspects of Wesley’s and the NPP’s criticism of reformed soteriology, namely, that the overemphasis on forensic justification leads to interpretive conclusions incongruent with an integrated biblical soteriology (i.e., a doctrine of salvation that is informed by the entire Christian canon) and particularly negligent of other biblical metaphors for salvation. The second section surveys key interpretive conclusions of the NPP for its reading of Pauline soteriology. The third section explores various commonalities and differences between Wesleyan soteriology and the NPP. The fourth and final section is a concluding summary of content discussed.

R. Jeffrey Hiatt
Caring for the Masses: Insights from John Wesley on Spiritual and Physical Healing
John Wesley approached Christian mission through a therapeutic (in the biblical sense) motif. Wesley used physical, spiritual, and social healing to further Christian mission in England, Ireland, and America. The gospel informs, and Christian mission drives, Wesley’s comprehension and practice of healing. This study illumines the ways and degrees that Wesley employed physical healing practices that helped him to care for and reach the masses in England with the gospel. Wesley demonstrated that medicine and medical intervention was an important element in the missionary/ ministry work. God not only works through direct intervention but through medicine, as well. Wesley used whatever means was biblical, ethical, and theologically expedient for Christian mission. If it was “good,” then it was fair game for use in reaching people for Christ and helping to heal their hurts, no matter what caused them.

James Patole
Towards an Understanding of the New Middle Classes in India: Missiological Perspective and Implications
One of the distinguishing features of contemporary India is the emergence and the rise of the new middle class/es (hereafter NMC). The confident and ambitious NMC has sprouted up across the country, now numbering about 300-400 million people and the number is increasing rapidly. The purpose of the article is to demonstrate that the emerging NMC is relatively an unexplored and unengaged people group in urban missions in India and beyond. It is a contemporary movement that is fluid and still in the process of emerging. In further exploration of the NMC, this article provides few key implications for an effective engagement with the NMC both in India and abroad. Recognizing that a sizable majority of the NMC are transnational, the NMC represents the Indian diaspora globally. 


From the Archives: Leander Lycurgus Pickett- Hymns, Holiness, and Wilmore

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