Commissions

ERT July 2016 Vol 40 No 3

16.03.2016

Now available
Paternoster Periodicals, c/- 8-9 Vanguard Court, Preston Farm, Stockton-on-Tees TS18 3TR UK
Email periodicals@alphagraphics.co.uk

Contents:

  1. An Exiled Community as a Missionary Community: A Study based on 1 Peter 2:9-10 by Valdir R. Steuernagel
  2. Holistic and Transformative: Beyond a Typological Approach to Theological Education by Perry Shaw
  3. Remind, rebuke, refocus: three correctives after investigating Edwards’s use of ‘known by God’ by Rhys S. Bezzant
  4. Towards A Theology of Human Identity Competing Identities: Imagining and Inventing new Identities by Samuel Jayakumar
  5. A Biblical-Theological Response to the Problem of Theodicy in the Context of the Modern Criticism of Religion by Rolf Hille
  6. Conceptions of Capitalism in Biblical Theology by Clive Beed and Cara Beed Book Reviews
  7. Book Reviews

Editorial: Comprehensive Christian Mission

We commence this issue with a classic article by Valdir R. Steuernagel (Brazil) which is reprinted from our January 1986 (Vol 10:1) issue. It is an insightful study of 1 Peter 2:9-10, just as valuable now as it was when originally written, emphasising the missionary role of the church, as ‘a spiritual house’ to ‘go out through the world with the message of Christ.’

It is important to be able to communicate this passion to the people of God, so Perry Shaw (Lebanon) puts us in his debt by discussing an integrated and holistic understanding of theological education. As he points out, allowing theology to shape our pedagogy in theological education will entail beginning with central theological affirmations such as the mission of God, the people of God, and the incarnation; only after this can we investigate their implications for our educational practices.

This throws us back further into the mind of God. So Stewart Bezzant (Australia) helps with his case study of the familiar biblical phrase ‘known by God’ as it appears in the work of Jonathan Edwards. He concludes, ‘Edwards provides resources …to reflect on [our] own assumptions and aspirations, and thereby to enrich [our] own scholarly reflection. Edwards starts a conversation that reminds, rebukes and refocuses us, so that we might start everything with God.’

The human factor is important as well. So we can turn with profit to another case study, where Samuel Jayakumar (India) discusses the importance of our self-identity, so necessary for a healthy and ordered life. He examines the forces that shape these identities, well-illustrated from his Indian context; he concludes that ‘Christians … draw their identity from their faith relationship with God. But God does not take away our past; he gives it back to us – we are people forever healed and reconciled.’

Inevitably, thinking along these lines will bring us to the problem of evil, so we present a thorough study of theodicy by Rolf Hille (Germany). Developing a fully biblical answer to classic philosophical and religious traditions, he provides a powerful apologetic based on the sovereignty and grace of God and human responsibility; he concludes with a pastorally sensitive reflection, based on the traditional Christian position: ‘Crux probat omnia - God in Christ is, in terms of dogma and in terms of counselling, the only possible answer to theodicy.’

Economic matters cannot be avoided in our mission for Christ. So in our final article, we turn to a paper by Clive and Clara Beed (Australia), commenting on the view that neither capitalism nor socialism are compatible with biblical theology. Their conclusion is that a reformed Christian-based capitalism is biblical, and even more – there is a responsibility for Christians to make positive contributions in these areas. So this too is part of our comprehensive mission!

Thomas Schirrmacher, General Editor
David Parker, Executive Editor