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Is God dying? Some people think so--and more want it so. They say Christian beliefs and our way of life aren't relevant anymore. But what critics, and even many churchgoers, don't realize is the life-changing importance of Christianity. Showing how the world would be a dark place without Christianity, Unimaginable guides you through the halls of history to see how Jesus's teachings dramatically changed our world and continue to be the most powerful force for good today. Learn how Christianity has stood against slavery, racism, eugenics, and injustices toward women and children why freedom as a universal value and modern education and legal systems owe much to Christianity how Christians throughout the ages have demonstrated the value of human life by sacrificially caring for the sick, marginalized, and dying how people of faith are extending God's kingdom through charities, mental health initiatives, and other ways. This provocative and enlightening book is sure to encourage believers and equip them to respond to doubters.
Practical Theology is a growing discipline in its own right, and the latest thinking in practical theology; of how to use theological learning in practical situations, is fully explored in this new edition of an established textbook. The authors examine methodologies of the social sciences and questions how they can enable the task of theological reflection; examine the relationship between qualitative and quantitative methods and highlight the significance of both for the task of practical theology. They also take the reader through the actual process of developing and carrying out a research project using the author's own research as case study examples. Previous case studies include: the rise in spirituality; the decline in church attendance, evidence-based medicine compared to needs-led assessments, the growth in chaplaincy and how it is understood as separate from parish ministry. In this second edition, case studies and all bibliographies have been updated plus a new chapter has been added.
Dynamic, Practical, Faith-Filled Response to the Evil Rising Around Us It's difficult to hear the growing daily reports of evil in our society without a degree of fear. Seen from a human perspective, things appear hopeless. But as we consider the spiritual perspective of those same events, we can--and will--see what purpose those struggles serve in God's plan. In these pages, pastor and author Phil Hotsenpiller will help you begin to connect the dots between biblical prophecies about lawlessness with current events. As you begin to see God's perspective, you will gain a more confident outlook for the future. God is trying to get our attention, show us how to get past our fears, and help us respond with faith to the evil we see all around us. Regardless of what we see on the news, God is still in control. Here are practical, everyday ways we can move forward with hope and determination to make our world a better place until the return of Jesus Christ.
In our culture of personalization, where everything is customizable, Jesus is often reworked into what each individual wants Him to be. Jesus is aligned to a person's agendas and dreams, making it easier for him or her to agree with Him.
This work is not a history of New Testament times, nor an account of New Testament religion. Nor does it proceed from a view that the New Testament was written as theology. We must bear in mind that the writers of the New Testament books were not writing set theological pieces. They were concerned with the needs of the churches for which they wrote. Those churches already had the Old Testament, but these new writings became in time the most significant part of the Scriptures of the believing community. As such, they should be studied in their own right, and these questions should be asked: What do these writings mean? What is the theology they express or imply? What is of permanent validity in them? We read these writings across a barrier of many centuries and from a standpoint of a very different culture. We make every effort to allow for this, but we never succeed perfectly. In this book I am trying hard to find out what the New Testament authors meant, and this not as an academic exercise, but as the necessary prelude to our understanding of what their writings mean for us today. -- From the Introduction
The author provides scriptural answers to eternal questions by using the catechetical method to highlight truth on 28 subjects.
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.
Before the end of the thirteenth century, theologians had little
interest in demons, but with Thomas Aquinas and his formidable
"Treatise on Evil" in 1272, everything changed. In "Satan the
Heretic, " Alain Boureau trains his skeptical eye not on Satan or
Satanism, but on the birth of demonology and the sudden belief in
the power of demons who inhabited Satan's Court, setting out to
understand not why people believed in demons, but why
theologians--especially Pope John XXII--became so interested in the
In After We Die , philosopher Stephen T. Davis subjects one of Christianity's key beliefsathat Christians not only will survive death but also will enjoy bodily resurrectionato searching philosophical analysis. Facing each critique squarely, Davis contends that traditional, historic belief about the eschatological future is philosophically defensible. Davis examines personal extinction, reincarnation, and immortality of the soul. By juxtaposing two systems of salvationareincarnation/karma and resurrection/graceaDavis explores the Christian claim that humans will be raised from the dead, as well as the radical Christian assertions of Jesus' resurrection, ascension, and long-anticipated return. Davis finally addresses Christian thinking about heaven, hell, and purgatory. The philosophical defense of Christianity's core beliefs enables Davis to render a reasonable answer to the eternal question of what happens to us after we die. After We Die is essential reading for teachers and students of philosophy, theology, and Bible, as well as anyone interested in a reasoned analysis of historic Christian faith, particularly as it pertains to the inevitable end of each and every human being.
Holiness is experiencing a renaissance both within and beyond the church today. Based on years of conversations with students, this approachable theological introduction to the Christian doctrine of holiness challenges the commonly held idea that holiness is primarily a moral category. The author explains that holiness is grounded not in ethics but in the basic nature of God; it is essentially and exclusively a divine property. The book highlights the Bible's necessary and corrective role in defining holiness and shows how individual holiness is grounded in the community that is the church catholic.
For anyone who wants to delve deeper into Rob Bell's bestselling Love Wins, the expansive and accessible Love Wins Companion offers scholarly support and critiques, resources for individuals, groups, and classes, and brand new material by Rob Bell himself. As Love Wins continues to become a touchstone for thousands of readers worldwide, controversy surrounds the book's arguments. Here, in The Love Wins Companion, Rob Bell offers commentary on the positive and negative attention his groundbreaking book is receiving, delivering a crucial supplement to one of the most important books Christian books today. For those looking to go deeper with Rob Bell's bestselling pioneering book Love Wins, this companion offers: * Insights and commentary by theologians, Bible scholars, scientists, and pastors * Deep analysis of all relevant Bible passages on heaven, hell, and salvation * Detailed chapter summaries, discussion questions, and Bible studies for individuals, groups, and classes * Excerpts from works throughout Christian history illustrating the variety of teachers also debating the issues Bell wrestles with * New material by Bell on his mission for the book and how people can take the next step
Andrew Murray, who strongly believed that missions are the chief end of the church, never tired of spreading the word about the powerful work of the Spirit through the blood of Christ. In both his sacrificial life and his writings, Murray explained the mystery of Christís blood as our precious source of life. In The Blood and the Spirit, he reflects on the tremendous power that Christís blood has for each of us if we accept it as our rightful inheritance and rely upon it to protect and enable us to accomplish our purposes in God. It will fill you with a true, solemn thanksgiving for Good Friday and a joyful appreciation of Easter Sunday.
The legacies of Thomas Aquinas and Karl Barth remain influential for contemporary theologians, who have increasingly put them into conversation on debated questions over analogy and the knowledge of God. However, little explicit dialogue has occurred between their theologies of God. This book offers one of the first extended analyzes of this fundamental issue, asking how each theologian seeks to confess in fact and in thought God's qualitative distinctiveness in relation to creation. Wittman first examines how they understand the correspondence and distinction between God's being and external acts within an overarching concern to avoid idolatry. Second, he analyzes the kind of relation God bears to creation that follows from these respective understandings. Despite many common goals, Aquinas and Barth ultimately differ on the subject matter of theological reason with consequences for their ability to uphold God's distinctiveness consistently. These mutually informative issues offer some important lessons for contemporary theology.
In a time of rapid climate change and species extinction, what role have the world's religions played in ameliorating-or causing-the crisis we now face? Religion in general, and Christianity in particular, appears to bear a disproportionate burden for creating humankind's exploitative attitudes toward nature through unearthly theologies that divorce human beings and their spiritual yearnings from their natural origins. In this regard, Christianity has become an otherworldly religion that views the natural world as "fallen," as empty of signs of God's presence. And yet, buried deep within the Christian tradition are startling portrayals of God as the beaked and feathered Holy Spirit - the "animal God," as it were, of historic Christian witness. Through biblical readings, historical theology, continental philosophy, and personal stories of sacred nature, this book recovers the model of God in Christianity as a creaturely, avian being who signals the presence of spirit in everything, human and more-than-human alike. Mark Wallace's recovery of the bird-God of the Bible signals a deep grounding of faith in the natural world. The moral implications of nature-based Christianity are profound. All life is deserving of humans' care and protection insofar as the world is envisioned as alive with sacred animals, plants, and landscapes. From the perspective of Christian animism, the Earth is the holy place that God made and that humankind is enjoined to watch over and cherish in like manner. Saving the environment, then, is not a political issue on the left or the right of the ideological spectrum, but, rather, an innermost passion shared by all people of faith and good will in a world damaged by anthropogenic warming, massive species extinction, and the loss of arable land, potable water, and breathable air. To Wallace, this passion is inviolable and flows directly from the heart of Christian teaching that God is a carnal, fleshy reality who is promiscuously incarnated within all things, making the whole world a sacred embodiment of God's presence, and worthy of our affectionate concern. This beautifully and accessibly written book shows that "Christian animism" is not a strange oxymoron, but Christianity's natural habitat. Challenging traditional Christianity's self-definition as an other-worldly religion, Wallace paves the way for a new Earth-loving spirituality grounded in the ancient image of an animal God.
A multinational team of scholars focuses on the interface between Christian doctrine and evolutionary scientific research, exploring the theological consequences for the doctrines of original sin, the image of God, and the problem of evil. Moving past the misperception that science and faith are irreconcilable, the book compares alternative models to those that have generated faith-science conflict and equips students, pastors, and anyone interested in origins to develop a critical and scientifically informed orthodox faith.
In this book, Robert Knowles seeks to encourage Christians to embrace and model authentic biblical Christianity - or "Relating Faith" - in their discipleship, church, and mission. Our faith is relational in that "love for God and neighbour sums up the Law and the Prophets" and in that, in response to the Great Commission, we are to relate our faith in Jesus Christ to the world where it is actually at today. Such "relating faith" is biblical not least in that Christians are to be matured and refereed in their love, or biblical lawfulness, primarily through the Holy Spirit's formative and relational activation of biblical speech-acts. Knowles argues, however, that the Western church has so allowed itself to be shaped by ancient, modern and postmodern Western culture and thinking, that it has in effect lost its authentic biblical shape as "relating faith". Knowles identifies five broad kinds of inauthentic or unbiblical sub-culture within the contemporary Western (and especially British) church that, whilst they are by no means the whole truth about the church, have still critically compromised its biblical shape and mission so as to render the church "non-relational" and even oppressive. Knowles then argues that these five counterfeit non-relational church sub-cultures are responsible for Christians hopping between churches or else leaving the church in droves, and for non-Christians increasingly seeing the church as irrelevant. In order to address this problem, Knowles gives detailed expositions of the shape of authentic biblical discipleship, church and mission on the one hand, and of the shape of Western modernity and postmodernity on the other hand. In the light of these expositions Knowles argues that the apparently more "modern" and/or "postmodern" shape of the five inauthentic or unbiblical contemporary church sub-cultures that he has identified has resulted, in part, from a long-standing anti-intellectual, anti-theological, and anti-biblical attitude of cherished ideological and cultural ignorance within the church. Notably, Knowles argues that this pietistic attitude has allowed the church to see false prophecy as "true", and to see the truly prophetic, the theological and even sometimes biblical doctrine as, at best, of only marginal or "merely academic" importance. This conclusion forms the platform from which Knowles calls Christians back to authentic biblical discipleship, church and mission - to "relating faith". COMMENDATIONS "Rob's gift to the Church is to communicate rich theological truth in profoundly relational ways with the Scriptures at the centre. Those who want more and know there's more but just don't know where to look, would find in Rob's work a goldmine of wisdom, and Christ is the fount of it all." - Rev'd Richard Matcham, Minister of Barton Baptist Church, Torquay "I am glad to commend this book. It combines such technical-sounding topics as speech-act theory and postmodernism with very practical issues in bible study and the Christian life. Dr Knowles has shown that these are down-to-earth tools and issues which can be of practical use in everyday Christian discipleship. Issues such as that of church leadership are also raised in a practical way." - Anthony C. Thiselton, Emeritus Professor of Christian Theology, University of Nottingham "Rob Knowles is one of those people who has had a massive influence on my life and ministry; his work is always thoughtful, challenging, and very helpful. Rob always seeks to be thoroughly biblical, and he's never one to duck the tough questions or offer easy platitudes. I thoroughly recommend this volume as one which will help you significantly in your life and ministry." - Rev'd Ted Fell, Vicar of All Saints Anglican Church, Kings Cross, London
This excellent work asks the important question: Is it right to describe Jesus as 'God'? Bringing together all the major biblical evidence as well as drawing on other early Jewish and Christian sources, this straightforward book provides a comprehensive view on the subject that is both accessible and authoritative, presenting both evidence in favour and some of the principal objections against the idea. While it will be of interest to anyone wishing to deepen their understanding of Scripture, it will have particular relevance for those with responsibility for leadership, teaching or evangelism in the church, as well as those in home groups. COMMENDATIONS "Anyone wishing to enlarge their view of Jesus or share their faith with others will unearth rich treasure in this book." - R.T. Kendall, Christian writer, speaker, and teacher; former Pastor of Westminster Chapel. "There is no shortage of exceptional books on Jesus, but David Lambourn's book offers a very readable and exciting examination of the greatest figure in human history." - Lord Carey, 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury
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