Saturday 30 July 2022

Centre for Public Christianity (July 2022)

Among other items, the Centre for Public Christianity has this month posted some new ‘Life and Faith’ podcast episodes:

Asking Questions: Finding Answers – ‘Darrell Bock talks about the things that pushed him, as a young man, to ask deep questions about life and meaning. And where he found answers.’

Pandemic Fatigue – ‘After two years of the exhaustion we’ve felt living in the midst of the pandemic, is “not coping” the new “busy” – in other words, the standard reply to “how are you?” these days?’

Seen & Heard: The Third – ‘Have you read Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel? Are you a Trevor Noah fan? Are you ready to call the best film of 2022? Let Simon, Natasha, and Justine talk you into watching/reading some of the things they love.’

Friday 29 July 2022

Christopher Watkin on Christianity and Critical Race Theory

Cambridge Papers are published once a quarter and address a wide range of topics, offering ‘Christian reflection on contemporary issues’.

The latest paper is available online here (from where a pdf can be downloaded here), this one by Christopher Watkin:

Christopher Watkin, ‘Christianity and Critical Race Theory’, Cambridge Papers 31, 2 (June 2022).

Here is the summary:

‘For some Christians critical race theory is part of a dangerous “woke” agenda threatening the church; for others it holds valuable insights into biblical themes of justice and reconciliation. This paper takes a careful look at critical race theory through the work of Derrick Bell, one of its founders, before contrasting it to classical liberalism, which is often seen as the default alternative. It is argued that the biblical pattern of creation, fall, redemption and consummation stakes out a position on race, oppression and freedom that is different to both critical race theory and liberalism, from which they both borrow, which they both distort, and which alone offers concrete hope for the future of race relations.’

Friday 22 July 2022

Six Beats One Story

Borrowing from Andrew Ollerton’s book, The Bible: A Story That Makes Sense of Life, a new resource from Bible Society – ‘Six Beats One Story’ – sums up the story of Scripture in six key scenes – Origins, Exodus, Exile, Messiah, Spirit, Home.

According to the Bible Society website:

‘Summing up the Bible narrative in just six scenes, Dai Woolridge unpacks the big story through colloquial prose, social media type posts and spoken word poetry.

‘The aim is to creatively retrace some of the key beats in the Bible story, and ask the question, “In light of Jesus, what’s this mean for us today?”’

More information, including a four-minute animated overview of the biblical story and tracks of spoken work poetry on each of the six ‘beats’ is available here.

Thursday 21 July 2022

The Big Picture Magazine on Difficult Hope

The Big Picture is a new-ish magazine from the Kirby Laing Centre, which is already on its fourth issue.

This one is devoted to the topic of ‘Difficult Hope’, as Istine Rodseth Swart signals in the Editorial:

‘Pain and suffering get our attention. The problem of pain and suffering is high on the list of reasons why many reject God and if we are honest with ourselves, why being a Christian is not for the fainthearted. As believers we are not exempt from affliction, travail and catastrophe, but we have an additional challenge: How do we respond appropriately, biblically?’

More information is available here, and the issue can be downloaded as a double spread pdf here and a single scroll pdf here.

Online versions of the previous issues of the magazine are available from here.

Monday 18 July 2022

Jubilee Centre Report on Faith, Enterprise and Social Purpose

The Jubilee Centre has published a report profiling and celebrating the role of Christians in ethical business and social enterprise in the UK.

According to their website:

‘In one of the largest studies of its kind in the UK, this report celebrates the role of Christians in purpose-driven enterprise.

‘It explores what “good business” looks like today, drawing on examples from many regions and sectors, and the role of faith within this. The report uses case studies to illustrate how businesses are delivering a positive social impact.

‘The report also challenges the Church to affirm and support enterprise and its role in mission today. This is a key challenge for our generation and a great opportunity.’

The report can be downloaded as a pdf here.

Sunday 17 July 2022

Lausanne Global Analysis 11, 4 (July 2022)

The latest issue of Lausanne Global Analysis, from The Lausanne Movement, is available online from here, including pdfs of individual articles as below.

The summaries are taken from the Issue Overview by Loun Ling Lee

Marion L.S. Carson

Working for Freedom in a World of Exploitation and Trafficking

‘Victims of exploitation and trafficking are to be found all over the world. Many have been exploited while escaping religious or ethnic persecution, or [. . .] fleeing war’, like the refugees from Ukraine, writes Marion Carson, who has encountered many such victims through her role as chaplain of Glasgow City Mission. She challenges Christians and the church to first examine ourselves as we tackle the causes of human trafficking – ‘lack of opportunity, capitalism, inequality (racial, social, religious, and gender) amongst others’ – and to be ‘a prophetic voice against the values and norms of the world in which slavery is able to flourish.’ Lessons from history and Scripture are highlighted in the article to guide us as we do our part in preventing ‘the enslavement and exploitation of people.’

Kumar Aryal

A Holistic Approach to Poverty Alleviation in Asia

Poverty is another major problem the world faces today. It is an ‘economic, material, political, social, and/or mental’ and ‘also a spiritual issue,’ writes Kumar Aryal. In his article, he focuses on four interrelated dimensions of poverty – economic, social, psychological, and spiritual. Therefore, to alleviate poverty, the author proposes a holistic approach, first by examining comprehensively the root causes of poverty. Some of the root causes of poverty in Asia analysed by him are widespread corruption, huge population, recurring natural disasters, and lack of education. Then he uses the ‘holistic development framework’, which ‘proposes an intentional integration of economic, psychological, social, and spiritual development.’ Alleviation of poverty ‘requires much effort, intentionality, and resources,’ he concludes.

J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu

Prosperity, Health, and Human Flourishing in Africa

‘How is one expected to understand human suffering, whether it be as a result of the war in Ukraine or poverty, hunger, and squalor in some parts of Africa?’ asks Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu. As he examines the theological implications of prosperity, health, and wellbeing within an African context, he helps us to understand why in Africa, ‘Christian mission and evangelism are seen as fulfilling a divine mandate when they aim to include the alleviation of pain and suffering – whether physical or spiritual– and systemic social injustice in their message of conversion in salvation.’ Beyond Africa, he believes that the reality of suffering across the world challenges the global church to not only preach salvation in Christ, but also to be ‘the salt of the earth and the light of the world,’ bringing ‘hope and flourishing to a world in need of God’s intervention within the difficult circumstances of human life.’

Julie Ma

Why Pentecostalism Has Succeeded Among Animists

Similarly, in Asia and other regions in the Global South, especially among tribal people with animistic backgrounds, many believe that the spirits have supernatural power to heal and bless. By comparing and analysing the religious worldviews of tribal people and the Pentecostal Christians in Asia, Julie Ma discovers major resemblances between the two: ‘The first is the awareness of the existence of the spirit world and its association with the world of the living’, and the second is ‘the belief in the power of spiritual beings to heal and bless; both the ancestor spirits for animistic believers and the Holy Spirit for Christian tribal believers.’ These religious commonalities have contributed to ‘the reception of the Christian message’ and ‘the rapid spread of the Christian faith in the Global South’. This case study illustrates the importance of contextualizing the gospel message, ensuring the relevancy of the gospel to the felt needs of the recipients.

Tuesday 12 July 2022

Tim Chester on Evangelical Social Action

Tim Chester notes that his book, Awakening to a World of Need: The Recovery of Evangelical Social Action (Leicester: IVP, 1993) has long been out of print and is now largely out of date.

However, for those interested in the history of how evangelicals rediscovered social action during the last third of the 20th century, it is available to download as a pdf from here or as a Kindle book from here.

Monday 4 July 2022

Mission Frontiers 44, 4 (July–August 2022)

The July–August 2022 issue of Mission Frontiers, published by the U.S. Center for World Mission, contains a number of articles devoted to ‘The Proper Care and Feeding of Our Mission Workers’.

Here is the issue blurb, which sets the scene:

‘If you ask mission workers if they feel adequately cared for by their sending churches, most will likely say, “Not as much as we would like.” A majority in the church do not understand what the mission of the global Church is. The people in the church cannot adequately care for the mission workers sent out if the members do not understand the mission or do not have a commitment or passion for it. This issue of MF is all about what the church and its sent ones can do to overcome this problem and to make sure that the precious saints we send out are properly cared for and supported in their vital mission.’

The issue is available here, from where individual articles can be downloaded, and the entire issue can be downloaded as a pdf here.

Friday 1 July 2022

Steven J. Lawson on Philippians

Every month, The Good Book Company make available digital versions of one of their books at no charge. This month (July 2022) it’s Philippians For You by Steven J. Lawson, which is available in exchange for an email address here.