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Each day, the world's urban population swells by almost 200,000. With every passing week, more than a million people new to cities face unexpected realities and challenges of urban life. Just like the sheer volume of people in the city, these challenges can be staggering. As with the height and breadth of our metropolises, the wonders of urban life can be breathtaking. Like the city itself, the questions and challenges of urban life are both sprawling and pulsing with vitality. As part of Zondervan's Ordinary Theology series, this volume offers a series of Christian reflections on some of the most basic and universal challenges of 21st century urban life. It takes one important dimension of what it means to be human-that human beings are made to be for God, for others, and for creation-and asks, "What are the implications of who God made us to be for how we ought to live in our cities?" This book is intended for Christians facing the riddle of urban creation care, discerning the shape of community life, struggling with the challenges of wealth and poverty, and wondering at the global influence of cities. It is meant for those whose lives and livelihoods are inextricably bound up in the flourishing of their neighborhood and also for those who live in the shadow of cities. Most of all, it is meant for those grappling with the relationship between the cities of tomorrow and the glorious city to come.
Contemporary Christians interact with art very differently than Christians of centuries past. Christian art was never intended for mere enjoyment, but was used to express the most important features of Christian faith and to suggest models for Christian practices. In TheArt of Christian Reflection , art historian Heidi Hornik reconnects art to ethics, beauty to behavior, and form to function in classical artwork. Over eighty different pieces of artapaintings, sculptures, and architectureaare the subject of Hornik's careful analysis and commentary, which highlights the ethical implications inherent to each work. Specifically, Hornik explores how art may foster Christian virtues such as forgiveness, patience, and generosity. Hornik also discusses art's influence on moral issues such as racism, prisons, violence, poverty, and environmentalism as well as historic Christian praxes such as prayer, work, Bible study, and worship. TheArt of Christian Reflection paints the church'sart as not only a courageous witness to the truth and reality of the gospel,but asan act of discipleship. It reveals the ethics of works not associated with the church but of value to contemporary Christians. Art can lead the faithful who reflect on it to become not only "hearers" and "seers" of the Wordabut "doers" as well.
First published in 1978, "Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture" is a classic work examining the theological doctrines, popular notions, and corresponding symbols and images promoting and sustaining Christian pilgrimage. The book examines two major aspects of pilgrimage practice: the significance of context, or the theological conditions giving rise to pilgrimage and the folk traditions enabling worshippers to absorb the meaning of the event; and the images and symbols embodying the experience of pilgrimage and transmitting its visions in varying ways.
Retelling its own tales of "mere mortals" confronted by potent visions, such as the man Juan Diego who found redemption with the Lady of Guadalupe and the poor French shepherdess Bernadette whose encounter with the Lady at Lourdes inspired Christians across the globe, this text treats religious visions as both paradox and empowering phenomena, tying them explicitly to the times in which they occurred. Offering vivid vignettes of social history, it extends their importance beyond the realm of the religious to our own conceptions of reality.
Extensively revised throughout, this edition includes a new introduction by the theologian Deborah Ross situating the book within the work of Victor and Edith Turner and among the movements of contemporary culture. She addresses the study's legacy within the discipline, especially its hermeneutical framework, which introduced a novel method of describing and interpreting pilgrimage. She also credits the Turners with cementing the link between mysticism, popular devotion, and Christian culture, as well as their recognition of the relationship between pilgrimage and the deep spiritual needs of human beings. She concludes with various critiques of the Turners' work and suggests future directions for research.
At last! A new book by our most popular theologian written for anyone interested in popular theology - whether believer, agnostic or atheist. Confronts head-on the most common objections to belief Compelling answers to FAQs about the gospel: Why is it 'good news'? Who did Jesus think he was? And who is 'God', anyway? Written by a world-renowned scholar and communicator, hailed by Newsweek as 'the world's leading New Testament scholar' Ideal for all who want to reaffirm their faith, as well as finding more convincing ways of commending it to others The Gospel means good news, but what makes it news? If the message has been around for 2,000 years, what could possibly be newsworthy about it? And what makes it good? Surely not the stories we hear of damnation, violence, and an angry God. Tom Wright believes many Christians have lost sight of what the 'good news' of the gospel really is. In Simply Good News, he shows how a first-century audience would have received the gospel message, what the 'good news' means for us today and how it can transform our lives.
We are saved by faith when we trust that Jesus died for our sins. This is the gospel, or so we are taught. But what is faith? And does this accurately summarize the gospel? Because faith is frequently misunderstood and the climax of the gospel misidentified, the gospel's full power remains untapped. While offering a fresh proposal for what faith means within a biblical theology of salvation, Matthew Bates presses the church toward a new precision: we are saved solely by allegiance to Jesus the king. Instead of faith alone, Christians must speak about salvation by allegiance alone. The book includes discussion questions for students, pastors, and church groups and a foreword by Scot McKnight.
The third volume of Frame's Theology of Lordship series, this book focuses on biblical ethics. In an age of ethical relativism and suspicion of authority, how can we know what is good, virtuous, or just? Frame surveys non-Christian ethical traditions before setting forth a solidly Christian ethical method. By clarifying biblical norms, life situations, and personal dimensions, he presents a model for decision making that honors God in all aspects of life. Discussions range from natural law and conflict of duties to detailed explorations of the Ten Commandments in connection with questions surrounding worship, the Sabbath, church and state, respect for life and truth, sexuality, and the relation of Christ to culture.
What does an individual contribute to his or her own salvation? Does God wait on the doorsteps of our hearts, quietly hoping to be let in when we decide to open the door? Or does he call us and pursue us in a way we can't resist? The debate between the irresistible call of God and a human being's free will has raged for centuries. So what is the answer? And why does it matter? In Willing to Believe, R. C. Sproul uncovers issues that provoked the Reformation and revived the controversy between Pelagius and Augustine. He carefully explores the relationship between original sin and human free will, clarifies misconceptions about the work of God in a believer's liberation from sin, illuminates the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation, and offers compelling reasons to believe the work of salvation is in God's hands.
How does the Spirit relate to the Bible? This book is for those who are 'thirsty for a deeper experience of the Spirit of God'. There is much confusion about how Jesus relates to the Holy Spirit, how Jesus the Eternal Word relates to the Bible. People say, 'You have too much Bible and not enough of the Spirit' or it "It all very well talking about the Spirit but where's the Bible?' Whatever our background, we tend to fall back on untested prejudices or worry about unexamined doubts. This careful biblical argument, drawing mainly from John's gospel, helps us to see the answers to these questions in a firmly Trinitarian understanding. Hearing the Spirit is the way we know the father through the Spirit. By asking where the Bible fits in this process, this helps us listen more deeply to the words of God.
Few passages in the Hebrew Bible have been subject to more scrutiny than Genesis 1 and 2. In this volume, a diverse international team of experts guides readers through interpretations of the Genesis creation stories throughout history, inviting them to consider perspectives from the earliest times to the present. The book offers an accurate description of how these chapters have been read through the centuries, explaining each interpretive approach in its own terms. Each chapter includes sidebars and suggestions for further reading.
The debate surrounding creation and evolution divides Christians, particularly evangelicals. It has been a stumbling block for young Christians and a point of contention for the new Atheists. Professor R. J. Berry assembles a wide range of distinguished contributors, all convinced, committed and orthodox Christian believers, each of whom has undertaken a conceptual journey, based on sound science and careful theology, from a creationist position to one in which God's creation and the processes of evolution are properly and credibly integrated. Christians and Evolution is a luminous volume that offers a pathway for doubters, sceptics and conservative Christians to embrace the overall scientific consensus of the evolutionary approach, while holding solidly and without reservation to the doctrines of God's creation and God's omnipotence. This text is a must-read for anyone interested in the creation v evolution debate.
In this book, Christopher Southgate proposes a new way of understanding the glory of God in Christian theology, based on glory as sign. Working from the roots of the concept in the Hebrew Bible, Theology in a Suffering World: Glory and Longing shows that 'glory' is not necessarily about beauty or radiance, but is better understood as a sign of the unknowable depths of God. Southgate goes on to show how John and Paul transform the concept of glory in the light of the cross. He then explores where glory may be discerned in the natural world, including in situations of pain and suffering. In turn glory is explored in the poetry of R. S. Thomas and the writings of the Jewish mystic Etty Hillesum. Finally, the book considers what it might mean for Christians to be 'transformed from one degree of glory to another': that might mean becoming a sign of the great sign of God that is Christ, and conforming their longing to God's longing for the Kingdom to come.
Now in paperback, Rob Bell's Sunday Times Bestselling Love Wins is the world's most talked-about modern Christian book.
Creating controversy and discussion, Love Wins gets to the heart of questions about life and death. Its perspective will surprise and challenge both Christians and atheists, and will inspire people of all faiths and none.
Millions of Christians have struggled with how to reconcile God's love and God's judgement:
Troubling questions-so troubling that many have lost their faith because of them. Others only whisper the questions to themselves, fearing or being taught that they might lose their faith and their church if they ask them out loud.
But what if these questions trouble us for good reason? What if the story of heaven and hell we have been taught is not, in fact, what the Bible teaches? What if what Jesus meant by heaven, hell, and salvation are very different from how we have come to understand them?What if it is God who wants us to face these questions?
Author, pastor, and innovative teacher Rob Bell presents a deeply biblical vision for rediscovering a richer, grander, truer, and more spiritually satisfying way of understanding heaven, hell, God, Jesus, salvation, and repentance. The result is the discovery that the "good news" is much, much better than we ever imagined.Love wins.
We live in a visual culture. Today, people increasingly rely upon visuals to help them understand new and difficult concepts. The rise and stunning popularity of the Internet infographic has given us a new way in which to convey data, concepts, and ideas. As teachers and lovers of sound theology, Challies and Byers have a deep desire to convey the concepts and principles of systematic theology in a fresh, beautiful, and informative way. In the bestselling Visual Theology, they have made the deepest truths of the Bible accessible in a way that can be seen and understood by a visual generation. As a companion to Visual Theology, the Visual Theology Study Guide is a ten session study designed to help you grow in godliness by practicing what you learn, and it includes application for both personal and small group study. Each chapter includes key terms, group study discussion questions, and exercises for personal reflection in God's Word.
JArg Frey has devoted decades of his scholarly career to exploring the rich landscape of John's Gospel. Frey chronicles the results of this work in The Glory of the Crucified One , demonstrating how the Gospel sits at the very heart of the New Testament witness. Frey begins by locating his approach to the Gospel in relation to five classic ways John has been interpreted (Part 1) and by offering a summary of the results of his own interpretation, in which Frey argues that the Gospel forms the apex of New Testament theology (Part 5). In between, Frey first untangles several problems, such as questions of anti-Judaism, dualism, and docetism, that are characteristic of any discussion of John's Gospel (Part 2). From there, he focuses attention on the weighty events that, for John, form the crucial "hour" of Jesusathe death, resurrection, and glorification of Christ (Part 3). Frey then builds on this central theme to explore the Christology and theology of John (Part 4). The Glory of the Crucified One underscores the central message Frey sees in the Gospel: "John's post-Easter memory (anamnesis) of the Jesus story aims at communicating that Jesus, who was crucified, has actually been glorified and is present in the realm of God, and in spite of his apparent absence from this world he is present in the community of believers through the Spirit." For John, according to Frey, there is no concealment of the cruel reality of Jesus' death on the cross. The narrative of Jesus' trial and his crucifixion deliberately shapes its readers' perception of the truth of faith visualized in John's narration. In the end, readers should contemplate the "pierced," crucified one as the source of their life and their communion with God.
The doctrine of justification stands at the center of our systematic reflection on the meaning of salvation as well as our piety, mission, and life together. In his two-volume work on the doctrine of justification, Michael Horton seeks not simply to repeat noble doctrinal formulas and traditional proof texts, but to encounter the remarkable biblical justification texts in conversation with the provocative proposals that, despite a wide range of differences, have reignited the contemporary debates around justification. Building on his historical-theological exploration of justification in volume 1, in this second volume Horton embarks upon a constructive task of investigating the biblical doctrine of justification in light of contemporary exegesis. Here he takes up the topic of justification from biblical-theological, exegetical, and systematic-theological vantage points, engaging significantly with contemporary debates in biblical, especially Pauline, scholarship. Horton shows that the doctrine of justification finds its most ecumenically-significant starting point and proper habitat in union with Christ, where the greatest consensus, past and present, is to be found among Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant theologies. At the same time, he proposes that the union with Christ motif achieves its clearest and most consistent articulation in forensic justification. The final chapter locates justification within the broader framework of union with Christ. "This thorough, systematic, and far-ranging work advances a reading both distinctive and yet more traditional than many of today's dominant paradigms."-CRAIG KEENER, Asbury Theological Seminary "Protestant and Catholic readers . . . will profit by wrestling with this learned historical study."-GERALD R. MCDERMOTT, Beeson Divinity School "This is a volume bristling with theological insight and intellectual energy."-SIMON GATHERCOLE, University of Cambridge "Very impressive and a major contribution to the clarification of the significant issues."-ROBERT KOLB, Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis "A superb and engaging book, marked by a careful and generous listening to other theological traditions. It will not only reenergize the reader with a passion for understanding this long-running doctrinal conversation, but also challenge one to engage critically."-EDUARDO J. ECHEVERRIA, Sacred Heart Major Seminary
To learn to read a text for the portals of silence that are implicit in it is to gain a powerful tool for supporting and expanding one's silence, and to open the reader to the insight that ensues. The sort of reading proposed in this volume is both costly and rewarding. These pages invite readers once again to look at their own minds, to reflect on what is happening there, and to understand the essential role of silence for being human, and for living our own truth with one another. This second volume of Maggie Ross's Silence: A User's Guide offers application to support the process set out in volume one.
The Idea of Nicaea in the Early Church Councils examines the role that appeals to Nicaea (both the council and its creed) played in the major councils of the mid-fifth century. It argues that the conflict between rival construals of Nicaea, and the struggle convincingly to arbitrate between them, represented a key dynamic driving-and unsettling-the conciliar activity of these decades. Mark S. Smith identifies a set of inherited assumptions concerning the role that Nicaea was expected to play in orthodox discourse-namely, that it possessed unique authority as a conciliar event, and sole sufficiency as a credal statement. The fundamental dilemma was thus how such shibboleths could be persuasively reaffirmed in the context of a dispute over Christological doctrine that the resources of the Nicene Creed were inadequate to address, and how the convening of new oecumenical councils could avoid fatally undermining Nicaea's special status. Smith examines the articulation of these contested ideas of 'Nicaea' at the councils of Ephesus I (431), Constantinople (448), Ephesus II (449), and Chalcedon (451). Particular attention is paid to the role of conciliar acta in providing carefully-shaped written contexts within which the Nicene Creed could be read and interpreted. This study proposes that the capacity of the idea of 'Nicaea' for flexible re-expression was a source of opportunity as well as a cause of strife, allowing continuity with the past to be asserted precisely through adaptation and modification, and opening up significant new paths for the articulation of credal and conciliar authority. The work thus combines a detailed historical analysis of the reception of Nicaea in the proceedings of the fifth-century councils, with an examination of the complex delineation of theological 'orthodoxy' in this period. It also reflects more widely on questions of doctrinal development and ecclesial reception in the early church.
The traditional view of puritans is that they were killjoys - serious, austere, gloomy people who closed theatres and abolished Christmas. This book, based on extensive original research, presents a different view. Focusing on both the writings of the leading Independent divine, Ralph Venning, and also on his pastoral work in the 1640s and 1650s when he was successively chaplain to the Tower of London and vicar of St Olave's, Southwark, the book reveals a much neglected strand of puritan theology. This emphasised the importance of inner happiness and the development of a personal piety which, the author argues, was similar in its nature to medieval mysticism, not that different from the piety promoted by earlier metaphysical preachers, and not at all driven by the predestinarian ideas usually associated with puritans, ideas liable to induce a sense of helplessness and despair. In addition, the book reassesses the role of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where Venning was educated, in shaping puritan thought, discusses Max Weber's ideas about puritanism and capitalism especially in relation to recreation and leisure activities, and demonstrates that Venning's strand of puritanism favoured toleration, moderation and church unity to a much greater degree than is usually associated with puritans. Stephen Bryn Roberts was awarded his doctorate from the University of Aberdeen and has been Adjunct Lecturer in Early Modern Church History at International Christian College, Glasgow since 2011.
In The Day the Revolution Began Tom Wright invites you to consider the full meaning of the event at the heart of the Christian faith - Jesus' crucifixion. As he did in his acclaimed Surprised by Hope, Wright once again challenges commonly held beliefs, this time arguing that the Protestant Reformation did not go far enough in reshaping our understanding of the Cross. With his characteristic rigour and incisiveness, he goes back to the New Testament to show that Jesus' death not only releases us from the guilt and power of sin, but is nothing less than the beginning of a world-wide revolution that continues to this day - a revolution that creates and energizes a movement responsible for restoring and reconciling the whole of God's creation. The Day the Revolution Began will take you to a new level in your appreciation of the meaning of Jesus' sacrifice: opening up its powerful and amazing implications, inspiring you with a renewed sense of purpose and hope, and reminding you of the crucial role you can play in the world-transforming movement that Jesus started.
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