Series: Newbigin on “The Call to the Church” – 1. Eschatology

The previous post set the stage for a series of posts on Lesslie Newbigin’s understanding, as presented in Foolishness to the Greeks, of the seven essential conditions that must be recovered if there is to be a genuine missionary encounter between the church and the modern West.  The first of these essential conditions, Newbigin asserts, “must be the recovery and firm grasp of a true doctrine of the last things, of eschatology.”1  Continue reading Series: Newbigin on “The Call to the Church” – 1. Eschatology

  1. Lesslie Newbigin, Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 1986), 134.

Series: Newbigin on “The Call to the Church” – Introduction

This past week marked the start of a course I am teaching at Tyndale Seminary called “Integrative Seminar II.”  Don’t let the nondescript title fool you; this course may very well be the most enthralling course that I’ve had the privilege to be involved with at Tyndale.  There’s a variety of reasons for this, including the fact that the course occurs near the end of the MDiv In-Ministry program and provides an opportunity for the students to bring together what they have learned and the skills they have developed over the course of the entire program.  Probably the biggest factor, though, is the compelling character of the subject matter itself.  “Integrative Seminar II” is shaped around exploring the life and thought of six twentieth century Christian pastor-leader-theologians: Lesslie Newbigin, John Perkins, Vinay Samuel, Dorothy Day, Desmond Tutu, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Continue reading Series: Newbigin on “The Call to the Church” – Introduction

Proper Confidence

“The confidence proper to a Christian is not the confidence of one who claims possession of demonstrable and indubitable knowledge.  It is the confidence of one who had heard and answered the call that comes from the God through whom and for whom all things were made: ‘Follow me.'”

– Lesslie Newbigin, Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt, and Certainty in Christian Discipleship (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 1995), 105

Discipline Is Not a Dirty Word

Talk of church discipline today often brings to mind “images of witch trials, scarlet letters, public humiliations, and damning excommunications.”1  However, each of the Protestant Reformers, in their own way, recognized the importance of church discipline.  John Calvin went so far as to say that the neglect of church discipline would contribute to the “ultimate dissolution of the church.”2  If Calvin could “discern frightful devastation beginning to threaten the church”3 in sixteenth century Geneva, what would he say about today’s Western Protestant Christianity, where the reigning ideal of tolerance and the omnivorous appetite of the market have combined to eviscerate the church of any remaining sense of its disciplined character? Continue reading Discipline Is Not a Dirty Word

  1. Marlin Jeschke, “How Discipline Died,” Christianity Today (August 2005), 31.
  2. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006), IV.xii.1.
  3. Ibid.

Christopher Wright and the Mission of God

This past Thursday, Christopher Wright was at Tyndale University College and Seminary to present a lecture entitled, “The Mission of God and the Cape Town Commitment.”  Wright’s contributions to missional hermeneutics, as well as his massive textbook, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative, have been hugely influential on the theological curriculum at Tyndale in recent years.  Wright is a consummate “churchman” whose current role as the director of Langham Partnership International has involved him in teaching ministries across the globe.  While chairing the Lausanne Theology Working Group, he was the chief architect of “The Cape Town Commitment: A Confession of Faith and a Call to Action.” Continue reading Christopher Wright and the Mission of God

“For the Life of the World” Cover Design

"For the Life of the World" Book CoverI’ve recently been given a glimpse of the cover design for my forthcoming book:  For the Life of the World:  Jesus Christ and the Church in the Theologies of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Stanley Hauerwas (Pickwick Publications).

I particularly appreciate the striking juxtaposition of colours and images.  Not to mention that the image of a garden in the wasteland is one of my favourite biblical metaphors for the new creation reality of the church.

I’ll have more to say about the book in the days ahead as the release date draws near.  Suffice to say, though, the appearance of the cover design signals that the day is fast approaching!