Friday 31 March 2023

More from the Centre for Public Christianity (March 2023)

Among other items, the Centre for Public Christianity has just posted a ‘Life and Faith’ interview with Kaitlyn Facista, who runs the online fan community Tea with Tolkien, and an interview with  Bruce Robinson on how to cope with pain in a positive, life-affirming way.

Thursday 30 March 2023

Lausanne Global Analysis 12, 2 (March 2023)

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.

Dave Deuel

Taking Church to People with Disabilities: A New Initiative for the Lausanne Disability Concerns Network

To complement traditional mission, vocational disability professionals can play a unique role at home, at work, and in our neighborhood, bringing the love of Christ and spiritual care to people where they are and equipping them for ministry. ‘People with disabilities whom they serve through care can grow spiritually while they receive encouragement to find their own giftedness and calling.’

Xiaoli Yang

The Transformative Power of Deep Listening: (Re)Imagining in Global Mission

In order to bring healing and transformation through incarnational mission, we need ‘to cultivate the art of listening and (re)imagining’ through three key aspects: ‘the verbal, the body, and the silence’. Xiaoli Yang uses Chinese etymology and other cultural traditions to illustrate what it means to develop ‘a holistic embodiment of listening’. As exemplified by Christ’s incarnation, ‘indigenous and contextual mission must emerge out of a deep sense of listening and imagining in the local soil, both among ourselves and with those we serve cross-culturally.’

Paul Sungro Lee

Utilising Indigenous Cultural Traits for Cross-Cultural Missions: Missiological Applications

As ‘missionaries from the Majority World increasingly join the global workforce’… it is more advantageous for them ’to connect intimately with those of similar backgrounds in other Majority World nations where they are sent to minister’. They will be able to use their common ‘indigenous cultural attributes’ in their mission strategies.

Emmanuel Oumarou

Rethinking Contextualization in Cameroon: The Context-Emergence Approach for Cultural Understanding of the Gospel

Oumarou investigates the state of contextualization in Cameroon, adopting an approach he describes as the context-emergence approach. ‘This approach highlights the incarnational emergence of the expressions, forms, and practices of Christianity from inside a context’, in contrast to the context-insertion approach, which ‘allows the adaptation of foreign Christian thoughts and practices from the culture of a missionary in a host culture’.

Monday 13 March 2023

Theos Report on Data and Dignity

A new report from Theos has been published:

Nathan Mladin, Data and Dignity: Why Privacy Matters in the Digital Age (London: Theos, 2023).

Some paragraphs from the Theos website:

‘It’s becoming old news: we are continually tracked, analysed, and profiled by private companies and governmental agencies. Our data is hoovered up and used to predict and manipulate our behaviour. Indeed, the use of big data and algorithmic systems is on the rise in our world. A new cultural and economic order is here: surveillance capitalism or what this essay calls the “surveillance system”. […]

‘Of the many concerns raised, privacy is never far from the top. But what is privacy? Most often, it is seen as an individual’s right to control their data. But this is not enough. If it is to serve us well in resisting dehumanising applications of technology, privacy must be re–imagined around a truer, more rounded view of what it means to be human.

‘Drawing on Christian thought – though anticipating overlap with other religious and philosophical traditions – the second half of the essay sketches a conception of privacy rooted in the notion of dignity and based on the sort of creatures human beings are: embodied (with limits and susceptibilities to be honoured rather than violated for gain); relational (made for relationships of trust and mutual care rather than exploitation); agential (with a capacity for intentional action to be upheld rather than undermined).

‘Privacy is not dead, nor should it be allowed to die. Privacy is a form of neighbour love in the digital age.’

More information can be found here, a summary here, a video introduction here, and a pdf of the full report is available here.

Friday 10 March 2023

Tim Chester on Voices from the Past

Every month, The Good Book Company make available digital versions of one of their books at no charge. This month (March 2023) it’s An Ocean of Grace: A Journey to Easter With Great Voices from the Past (including Augustine, Charles Spurgeon, John Bunyan, Catherine Parr, and Martin Luther) by Tim Chester, which is available in exchange for an email address here.

Thursday 9 March 2023

Ink (Summer 2022)

The latest bumper issue of ink produced by Tyndale House has been available for a while now, this one including pieces on the medieval art of memorising Scripture, the dialogue between the Classics and the Bible, food and festivals in the book of Ruth, the imprecatory psalms, the Lachish reliefs, principles for making sense of Jesus’ parables, the Amorites, and whether Barabbas was called Jesus Barabbas.

UK residents can sign up here to receive issues through the post or subscribe for online updates, but articles from the publication are also available to read from here.

Friday 3 March 2023

Foundations 83 (January 2023)

Issue 83 of Foundations: An International Journal of Evangelical Theology, published by Affinity, is now available (here in its entirety as a pdf), which includes the below essays.

Donald John MacLean


Andrew G. Bannister

Muslims, Christians, and God: Why Good Theology is Crucial for Effective Evangelism

This article seeks to explore the question of the relationship between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Are they all “sister religions”, or is Islam built upon entirely different theological foundations to the biblical faiths? We will also examine why this is no mere academic question but is a crucial starting point for evangelism and apologetics to Muslims – and why getting this starting point wrong risks, at best, confusing our Muslim friends and at worst, even a sloppy syncretism.

Thorsten Prill

Equipping Twenty-First Century Missionaries for Cross-Cultural Ministry: African and Western Realities and Perspectives

This article discusses the issue of cross-cultural training of both Western Christians who are called to serve as missionaries in Africa and African reverse missionaries who come to Europe and other parts of the world to be involved in evangelistic outreach and church planting. While the value of cross-cultural training for missionaries is widely recognised, both groups tend to demonstrate deficiencies in their cultural intelligence (CQ) which negatively impacts their missionary efforts. This, however, need not be the case. There are various ways in which cross-cultural missionaries can acquire and develop cultural intelligence to become more effective ambassadors of Christ. A solid foundation for mission work abroad is usually laid at home through active involvement in the local church and cross-cultural ministries. Building on that foundation, future missionaries can further increase their cross-cultural competence through short-term mission trips, missionary apprenticeships or formal training at a mission college, preferably outside their home country or in a multicultural and interdenominational setting. Having arrived in their country of service in Africa or Europe, a period of on-field orientation and, at a later stage, participation in continuing education programmes should complement their training.

E.M. Hicham

A Missiological Assessment of the Insider Movement

This paper addresses Insider Movements (IMs) within the world of Islam and presents a missiological evaluation of the principal IM paradigms. A definition of the movement will be given and discussed. We will also consider five major controversial areas that summarise the debate: 1) The legitimacy of IM members’ dual Islamic and Christian identity, 2) The openness of ‘Insiders’ towards the prophethood of Muhammad, the founder of Islam, 3) The Qur’an as Scripture, 4) The new translation of the Bible, and 5) The role of the local Church. The results of the preceding analyses will be synthesised, conclusions regarding the sociological and theological merits of IMs will be made and alternatives will be suggested.

Robert Strivens

Do Christians Meet for Worship? A Review Essay: William Taylor, Revolutionary Worship: All of Life for God’s Glory

This review article considers recent evangelical reflections on the nature of worship. Many evangelicals are positing that as all of life is worship it is inappropriate to speak of Christians going to church to worship. Indeed, for many evangelicals, this is now the ruling paradigm: we meet for worship only in the sense that the whole of the believer’s life is worship. If we think that we meet for worship, our language and our thinking about such meetings needs to undergo a radical transformation. This position has been argued in a recent and influential book on the subject, Revolutionary Worship: All of Life for God’s Glory, by William Taylor, rector of St Helen’s, Bishopsgate. In contrast to this view, this article argues for the historic understanding of the meeting of the local church as a meeting for the worship of God, at which the Lord’s people may expect to know Christ’s presence with them by his Spirit in a special manner.

John W. Keddie

John Davidson and the General Assembly of 1596

In this article we consider one of the most remarkable post-Reformation revivals in Scottish Church history. It concerns what happened at the General Assembly of the Scottish Reformed Church in 1596. It is little known by Christians today, even in Scotland. Yet one contemporary historian, David Calderwood (1575-1650), was to write that “This year [1596] is a remarkable year in the history of the Kirk of Scotland.” We do need to bear in mind that the Word of God is the same, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever, that sin is the same, essentially, in every generation, and the overwhelming need for sinners to be saved is the same in the twenty-first century as it was in the sixteenth. It is a modern arrogance that because we are in such a supposedly advanced society, we have somehow left such things as religion behind. We are in a secular world which holds out no hope for eternity, and has no recognition of answerability to God, or serious thought of judgement to come. We should therefore be moved by the experience of the Church even as far back as 1596 and, after all, the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is undiminished in His power to quicken those who by nature are dead in trespasses and sins. We are always invited to believe that what He did then, He can do again in His sovereign grace. Besides this, here is a vital tenet for the Church to maintain: Christ, who has all authority in heaven and earth, is building His church so that the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). In this reconnoitre in Scottish Church history, we can therefore learn many things of timeless value.

Màiri MacPherson

Book Review: When Christians Face Persecution Theological Perspectives from the New Testament

Peter Sanlon

Book Review: Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution

Wednesday 1 March 2023

Centre for Public Christianity (March 2023)

Among other items, the Centre for Public Christianity has just posted a ‘Life and Faith’ interview with Christopher Watkin on his recently-published book, Biblical Critical Theory.

‘In a conversation that touches on globalisation, the profit motive, radical justice, the nature of society, and a God of “superabundance”, Chris makes the case for why he thinks looking at our culture through the lens of the Bible makes the most sense of reality as a whole.’

Listen from here.