Commissions

ERT Apr 2019 Vol 43 No 2

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

Theme: A Global Forum

Contents:

  1. Editor's Introduction
  2. Otherness and Embrace: Towards a Theology of Hospitality in the Indian Context by Samuel Richmond Saxena
  3. Face-to-face with Levinas: (Ev)angelical Hospitality and (De)constructive Ethics? by Ronald T. Michener
  4. Call for Papers
  5. Release from Batara Kala’s Grip: A Biblical Approach to Ruwatan from the Perspective of Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians by Pancha W. Yahya
  6. Evangelism, Social Media, and the Mum Effect by David R. Dunaetz
  7. Practising Mission and Development in a Multi-lingual African Context of Jostling for Money and Power by Jim Harries
  8. ‘Thou Hast Forsaken Thy First Love’: Soteriological Contingency in the Book of Revelation by Nicholas Rudolph Quient
  9. Complementarity and Its Significance for Biblical Theology by Thomas Schirrmacher
  10. Book Reviews

Editor's Introduction: The Other

This issue of ERT highlights the theme of ‘Engagement and Dialogue with the Other’. The World Evangelical Alliance, as befits any organization that believes in the Great Commission, devotes much of its efforts to caring for ‘others’—i.e. people who are not evangelicals. How do we approach people who have the same human rights and needs as ours, who are created in the image of God, who are in need of God’s grace just as we are, but whose worldviews differ from ours?

Samuel Saxena opens this issue by highlighting opportunities for Christian hospitality in India, where the traditional caste system has treated the other as untouchable in many instances, yet where Hindus are expected to greet every guest as if welcoming a god. Against this backdrop, he provides an extensive foundation for a Christian emphasis on embracing others.

Saxena’s essay has striking parallels to a 2010 European Journal of Theology article by Ron Michener, who sympathetically examined the radical understanding of otherness and its implications in the work of Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. Accordingly, we have paired the two essays, both of which challenge us to what Michener calls an ‘(ev)angelical’ lifestyle.

Indonesian Pancha Yahya patiently describes a Javanese practice called ruwatan, showing how it yields a worldview that emphasizes maintaining harmony and peaceful order and that softens the contrast between good and evil. He then compares that worldview to Paul’s understanding of the warfare between good and evil as described in Ephesians.

Even though evangelicals consider the Christian gospel to be good news, most of us rarely tell other people about it. David Dunaetz draws on social psychology to consider why we act in this way, how social media have exacerbated the problem, and how we can improve our communication without losing friends or our reputation.

Jim Harries, missionary to Kenya who has devoted his life to rooting out the residue of colonialism from cross-cultural mission, returns to the pages of ERT with what we might call his magnum opus, summarizing multiple factors that combine to threaten the integrity and ultimately the effectiveness of Western Christian outreaches to the majority world.

The last two articles turn to other topics. American pastor Nicholas Quient offers a rigorous exegesis of passages in the book of Revelation that present salvation as contingent—i.e. as something that believers can lose if they do not remain faithful. Quient’s paper caused the WEA’s Thomas Schirrmacher to reflect on the many instances where, to maintain theological balance, Christians affirm what may appear to be two contradictory sides of the same coin. Both papers should make stimulating reading.

See page 29 for our call for papers for the next three issues.

Bruce Barron, Editor