Tag Archives: discipleship

James Davison Hunter on “the Central Ministry of the Church”

“Beyond the worship of God and the proclamation of his word, the central ministry of the church is one of formation; of making disciples.  Making disciples, however, is not just one more program—it is not Sunday School, a Wednesday night prayer meeting, or a new book one must read.  Formation is about learning to live the alternative reality of the kingdom of God within the present world order faithfully.  Formation, then, is fundamentally about changing lives. Continue reading James Davison Hunter on “the Central Ministry of the Church”

Upcoming Conference Presentation


I’ve had a lot on my plate in recent days – including wrapping up an intensive theology course at Tyndale Seminary and preparing to preach on the Samson narrative at Toronto Chinese Alliance Church this coming Sunday – which has contributed to somewhat of a lull in my production of blog posts.  Also quickly approaching is the “Participation in God’s Mission” conference at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, NY, where I will be presenting a paper.  Continue reading Upcoming Conference Presentation

“Tolkien and the Adventure of Discipleship”

I received in my inbox this morning a digital copy of the latest edition of the Canadian Theological Review.  The issue (2014, vol. 3, no. 2) includes my article, “Tolkien and the Adventure of Discipleship: Imaginative Resources for a Missional Ecclesiology.”  My former theological students at Tyndale Seminary will be able to trace some of the material back to my lecture on “The Christian Life” where some of the thoughts first appeared in seminal form.  I had the opportunity to further develop this line of inquiry within the context of addressing the National Conference of the Congregational Christian Churches in Canada in 2014 on the theme of “The Adventure of Discipleship.” Continue reading “Tolkien and the Adventure of Discipleship”

Lewis and “Little Christs”

My systematic theology students are reading Kevin Vanhoozer’s recent work Faith Speaking Understanding:  Performing the Drama of Doctrine (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014).  In the chapter they are reading in preparation for our next class, Vanhoozer speaks of the importance of doctrine for correctly identifying Christ and allowing Christians to grow in Christ’s image.  To put it in the terms of Vanhoozer’s prevailing theatrical metaphor, the chapter is about how we learn and become our part in the great cosmic drama of salvation.  At one point Vanhoozer introduces an evocative quote from the writings of C.S. Lewis: Continue reading Lewis and “Little Christs”

Beginning in the Middle

Mountainside Stairway

Theological reflection always begins in the middle. After all, theological reflection is the work of a people who find themselves on pilgrimage (in via) as a result of being claimed by the address of the Triune God. There is no getting back to square one – to some primal location – for we are historical creatures who cannot escape our positioning in a good, but fallen world that started long before we arrived and, God willing, continue for long after we’ve died. Furthermore, if God is truly God, then God is not simply there to be discovered like helium or hydrogen, mites or mandrills. If theological reflection is to be truly theological it can only be, as Karl Barth famously maintained, a “thinking after” (Nachdenken in German) the reality of God’s self-revelation in the person of Christ. Continue reading Beginning in the Middle