“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.” I am grateful for the feedback of my students and those at the conference who encouraged me to prepare the material for publication.  Here is the abstract for the paper:

“Ecclesiology seems to be an area of perennial struggle for evangelicals. In the current Canadian context this struggle is intensified by the crumbling of Christendom and the pressures of late modernity. This essay argues that the Middle-earth literature of J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings) provides an important resource for imagining a missional ecclesiology that transcends the strictures of a Christendom mindset and faithfully resists the bifurcating logic of late-modernity. Leveraging the motif of the adventure of discipleship allows for the theological recovery of the unity of the identity and mission of the church and provides suggestive pathways towards the cultivation of a renewed evangelical ecclesiological vision.”

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