TC ERT Jul 2008 Vol 32 No 3



  • Use and Abuse of the Bible in Pastoral Practice: An Evangelical Perspective by Derek J. Tidball
  • A History of the Relationship of the Evangelical Alliance with the Roman Catholic Church by Pietro Bolognesi
  • From the Jewish Messiah to the Creeds of the Church by Oskar Skarsaune
  • The Institutions of Hope by Christopher Fung
  • Material Provision’ or Preaching the Gospel: Reconsidering ‘Holistic’ (Integral) Mission by Jim Harries
  • Book Reviews

We introduce this issue with Derek Tidball’s seasoned article reviewing the way the Bible is used by evangelicals in the important ministry of pastoral care. This leading English theologian says, ‘The goal of using the Bible in pastoral practice must be to bring people to experience eternal life through Jesus and then to lead them to maturity in him. Used rightly, it is a wonderful channel of life, and life in all its fullness.’ But he warns, ‘If our use of the Bible does not accomplish this, then we should re-examine whether we are using it aright.’

Then to coincide with a consultation the WEA Theological Commission is sponsoring soon on the uniqueness of Christ in relation to the presentation of the gospel to Jewish people, we have a review by Oskar Skarsaune (Norway) of the way early Christological thinking developed in relationship to the Jewish concept of Messiah. He challenges the popular idea of the ‘hellenization’ of Christianity, arguing that the developed Christologies have ‘a solid biblical and Jewish basis.’ So with credible evidence, he supports the view that ‘it is unjewish to say that this [the incarnation] is something the God of the Bible cannot do.’

Evangelical attitudes towards the Roman Catholic Church and relationships between the two traditions continue to occupy the attention of many, especially as significant changes are continuously taking place within both these communities. The WEA Theological Commission is keeping abreast of these and so we present an overview of the situation by Pietro Bolognesi (Italy) which was prepared for a recent consultation of the European Evangelical Alliance.

Our concluding articles embody new approaches which will spark interest. Christopher Fung, a scientist from Hong Kong, presents a comprehensive vision of the work of Christ in relation to the Sabbath and its deepest meaning in the history of salvation. This will doubtless not appeal to all our readers, but its fascinating images will surely evoke new appreciation for the wonder of God’s plan for us and the world.

Then Jim Harries puts forward the view that the ‘implementation of “holistic mission” strategies across Africa (and presumably elsewhere) has inadvertently resulted in serious problems’, especially unhealthy dependency and serious impeding of local initiatives and development due to fundamental misunderstandings and miscommunication of ideas and intentions. This results not only in ‘serious theological distortions’ but also the disempowering of the recipients, the very opposite of the purpose of the aid in the first place. At very least, this raises a serious challenge about presuppositions and methods which needs careful attention. But then we expect all of our articles present us with truths that challenge and therefore contribute to our aim of ‘discerning the obedience of faith’!

David Parker, Editor.