Paternoster Periodicals, c/- AlphaGraphics, 6 Angel Row, Nottingham NG1 6HL, UK
Theme: A Renewed Church in the World
The Renewal of the Church by Klaas Runia
Lessons from Global Worship by Ron Man
The Salvation of the Unevangelized in the Light of God's Covenants by Terrance L. Tiessen
They are not all Martyrs: Islam on the Topics of Dying, Death, and Salvation in the Afterlife by Christine Schirrmacher
Fundamentalisms and the Shalom of God: An Analysis of Contemporary Expressions of Fundamentalism in Christianity, Judaism and Islam by Clinton Stockwell
Editorial: A Renewed Church in the World
Our lead article by the late celebrated Dutch theologian, Klass Runia, is a choice sample from one of our earlier editions. Of course, allowance needs to be made for some dated references and allusions, but the theme is still valid and topical – the church always needs to be aware of its origin and functioning as a work of God, and its role as 'missionary and diaconal.' So 'the renewal of the church is a blessing not only for the church itself, but also for the world around it.' This renewal is 'born of the union of Word and Spirit.' This is a timeless message which is, if possible, more relevant today than when first written more than twenty years ago.
In our second article, Ron Man (USA) reminds us that one of the ways the church becomes authentic is through its worship, with all its variety and change. The author is well placed to report and advise on some of this activity, but he is careful to emphasise that, although there are many interesting cultural developments, it is important to remember the close relationship between worship and mission, and how this awareness has generated progress in making worship culturally authentic in many parts of the world.
Equally important for the renewal of the church is its attitude towards others. Terry Tiessen (Canada) tackles the vexed question of the salvation of the unevangelised from the perspective of the divine covenants. He argues that 'membership in the covenant community was never the boundary of God's redemptive work, and knowledge of the revelation which God had entrusted to that community was not necessary for the Spirit to create saving faith in the people's hearts.' People are responsible within the covenant framework in which they live, which places greater responsibility on those who have a clear knowledge of God's saving grace.
Our last two articles deal with two particular aspects of the church in the world. First, Christine Schirrmacher (Germany) takes up a highly prominent issue – attitudes to death and dying in Islam, and after providing informative insights about the range of views that exist, offers a short but insightful comparison with Christian views. Although there are many human factors in common, the contrast could hardly be greater – with Christians being 'assured of God's love and mercy.'
Taking a broader approach still, Clinton Stockwell (USA) compares fundamentalist impulses within Christianity, Judaism and Islam in relation to the 'shalom' or welfare of the community at large. The historical, political and cultural insights explained in this article should go a long way to helping us understand some of the disturbing movements and events in our world today, but more than this – it offers a vision of 'the way it is supposed to be.' Overall, it evident that a renewed church is needed to create, foster and direct this vision which is nothing less than the Kingdom of God.
Thomas Schirrmacher, General Editor
David Parker, Executive Editor
» Next Issue: October 2012 Vol 36 No 4 (Index Volume)
Contact the Editor