TC ERT Jan 2011 Vol 35 No 1


Now available
Paternoster Periodicals, c/- AlphaGraphics, 6 Angel Row, Nottingham NG1 6HL, UK

Theme: Christ, Culture and Mission


  • Editorial: Christ and Culture
  • Christ and Culture by Thomas K. Johnson
  • Magic, Science and Theology in African Development by Jim Harries
  • The ‘Born again’ Concept in the Charismatic Movement in Ghana by Abraham Akrong
  • Hermeneutics and Missions in the Land of the Equinox by Eloy H. Nolivos
  • Christianity and Democracy by Thomas Schirrmacher
  • ‘Energising Community: Theological Education’s Relational Mandate by Hwa Yung
  • New Faces of the Church: An Indian Case Study: A Response’ by H. L. Richard
  • Book Reviews
    • The Challenge of Being Baptist: Owning a scandalous past and an uncertain future, by Bill J. Leonard Waco: Baylor University Press, 2010 ISBN 978-160258306-1 Pb., pp 154, bibliog., index Reviewed by David Parker, Executive Editor, Evangelical Review of Theology
    • Discovering Jesus in the New Testament, by Keith Warrington Peabody, Mass: Henrickson, 2009 ISBN 978-1-59856-011-4 Pb., pp 226, bibliog., index Reviewed by David Parker, Executive Editor, Evangelical Review of Theology
    • Spirituality without God: Buddhist Enlightenment and Christian Salvation, by Keith Yandell and Harold A. Netland Milton Keynes, UK: Authentic Media/Paternoster, 2009 ISBN 978-1842276426 US version: Buddhism: A Christian Exploration and Appraisal, Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2009 (USA version) 978-0-8308=3855-4 Pb, pp. xvii + 230, bibliog, index
    • Edinburgh 2010. Mission Then and Now, David A. Kerr and Kenneth R. Ross (eds), Regnum Books International, 2009, ISBN 978-1-870345-76-7, 343 pp. Reviewed by Klaus Fiedler, Mzuzu University, Malawi
    • Atlas of Global Christianity, by Todd M. Johnson and Kenneth R. Ross, , Edinburgh University Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-748632671, 361 pp. Reviewed by Klaus Fiedler, Mzuzu University, Malawi
    • The Scofield Bible: Its History and Impact on the Evangelical Church, by R. Todd Mangum and Mark S. Sweetnam ISBN 978-1606570333 Colorado Springs, CO: Paternoster Press, 2009 Pb., pp. 245 Reviewed by Jason Bruner, Princeton NJ, USA The Living Word of God: Rethinking the Theology of the Bible, by Ben Witherington, III Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2007 ISBN 978-1-60258-017-6 Hb., pp 273, Indices Reviewed by Carlos Bovell, New Jersey, USA
    • The Lord’s Supper: Five Views, edited by Gordon T. Smith Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8308-2884-5. Pb, 159 pp. Bibliography, indexes. Reviewed by George W. Harper, Evangelical Theological Seminary, Osijek, Croatia.
    • Baptists through the Centuries A History of a Global People, by David W. Bebbington Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2010 ISBN 978-160258204-0 Pb., pp 315, index, bibliog., illus
    • Blues Music and Gospel Proclamation: the extraordinary life of a courageous East German pastor, by Theo Lehmann (edited by Richard V. Pierard, and translated by Edwin P. Arnold) (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock, 2008). ISBN 978-1-55635-544-8 Pb., pp239, Illus.

Editorial: Christ, Culture and Mission

We commence our publication for 2011 with a good summary of the issues related to ‘Christ and Culture’ presented by Thomas Johnson, but with a particular angle which should prove to be helpful to our readers – the mission of the church; as he puts it: ‘We must be converted from the world, so that our identity, values, beliefs and priorities are not those of this world. We must be converted back to the world, knowing that God has called and sent us to serve the Word in the world.’

This sets the theme for other articles. Jim Harries, for example, explains how differing cultural assumptions affect the way an African may interpret western scientific talk and the bearing this has on communicating the gospel and theological understanding. In West Africa, the concept of regeneration (being ‘born again’) has been a prominent feature of recent Christian experience, but, as Abraham Akrong shows, the familiar biblical model has been seen in a variety of different ways, not all of which are helpful or fruitful.

Moving across to South America, Eloy Nolivos presents a situation where two cultures—the original evangelical missionaries and the newly emerging local church—have differed in their understanding of Scripture and theology generally; now the task before local people as the church begins to develop its own identity is ‘to gladly move away from their inheritance and espouse their own contextual hermeneutic’, which is a task that calls for considerable sensitivity and grace.

The following articles move in other, though related directions. The General Editor, Thomas Schirrmacher, presents an overview of Christianity and democracy, showing how biblical perspectives bear on Christians in the wider culture of organized society. He concludes, ‘Despite much ambivalence in the relationship between Christianity and democracy, there are reasons why determined Christians and minority churches have called for secular democracy, have advanced it, and have helped to stabilize it.’

Then we have a perceptive paper on the ‘relational mandate’ of theological education by Hwa Yung, with a call ‘to move away from the autonomous individualism of modernity and to recover the proper Christian understanding of the human person as an individual-in-community.’ Theological education, as well as theology in general and the church at large have, as a result of the inherent characteristics of the gospel, a responsibility and God-given opportunity to take a lead in this direction.

Many cultures have no issue with this concept, at least within local and even regional terms, but in a world fraught with tension, it is likely to be under threat. So Christians with a clear understanding and experience of the diverse Kingdom of God, have a contribution to make to human welfare and this is as much a part of their mission as anything else.

We are pleased to have a response to an earlier paper and regret to advise of an error in another (see below)

Thomas Schirrmacher, General Editor
David Parker, Executive Editor

Erratum: ERT (2010) 34:3, page 249. The first paragraph should read: Christians should not ‘bracket’ their Christianity, as their moral and religious convictions are constitutive of their identity and the principal grounds on which they enter political deliberations and make political choices.