Newest “mission and culture” book reviews in Themelios

Themelios just published its April 2017 issue. The assortment of book reviews concerning mission and culture are excellent. They touch on a diverse range of topics. Click the links below to read the reviews. Created and Creating: A Biblical Theology of Culture Review by: Marvin J. Newell Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical Review by: Kevin Halloran Race and Place: How Urban Geography Shapes the Journey to Reconciliation Review by: John O. Soden Crossing Cultures in Scripture: Biblical Principles for Mission Practice Review by:… Read more

Eastern versus Western Honor & Shame

Every human society cares about honor and shame but not all in the same way. Westerners think they are different, but they simply seek to achieve it more than ascribe it. Read more

Reconnecting God’s Story to Scripture and Service

Tom Steffen has a nice article in the most recent issue of Christian Education Journal. It is titled “Discoveries Made While Reconnecting God’s Story to Scripture and Service.” Here is the article’s abstract: Story was much more nuanced than I had ever anticipated. Cross-cultural experience drove home the need to identify and define the various nuances of story. This resulted in a three-tier classification of stories. I then reevaluated the role of narrative and metanarrative as well. Will these classifications… Read more

Is Christ’s reputation lost on the church?

“Face” is a matter of life and death. Just ask Lance Armstrong and anyone fighting against cancer. In 2012, Armstrong admitted to doping his way to cycling history. In 2011, the “Lance Armstrong Foundation” (which raised funds to fight cancer) had $47 million dollars in revenue and around 90 full time employees. In 2010, it helped over 600,000 people. That same year, the foundation distributed over 2 million of its famous yellow wristbands. The foundation (now called “Livestrong”) reported less… Read more

Does the Easter story have authority?

This week, we’ll read narratives about Christ’s suffering and resurrection. But are we equipped to read them? This is what I mean….we easily recognize the authority of epistles since they state ideas quite directly. On the other hand, we tend to think of stories or narratives as descriptive. So, how do narratives carry authority? Here are some great quotes I’ve come across while preparing to teach a Narrative Theology course. While the writer initially speaks of parables, we could just as well ask,… Read more

Can Christians eat blood?

An oft debated question among Chinese Christians is this, “Can Christians eat blood?” For some, the answer is a straightforward “no” based on Old Testament prohibitions and on Acts 15:20, 28; 21:25, which record the Jerusalem church’s letter to the believing Gentiles. The Acts verses are not so clear cut. The letter seems to blend cultural and absolute prohibitions. After all, Paul in 1 Cor 8–10, Rom 14, for example, clearly says that eating food sacrificed to idols is not sin. How do we help fellow… Read more

The Physics of the Church

What happens when we use “the elements of the world” to plant and build churches? Read more

If We Say Chinese Have No Sin, We Deceive Ourselves

It began last summer. I awoke to read an email suggesting that Danny Hsu’s article is “now required reading for all who work among Chinese.” Hsu is a sound scholar of Chinese history. So, I read with curiosity. According to Hsu, I (and others) “question the compatibility between Chinese culture and the idea of sin.”[1] This was surprising news to me, since I’ve never held that belief. I fully believe Chinese can understand the biblical notion of sin. I’m not… Read more

What we learn from “worldly” physics

We know “the elements of the world” are enslaving. But what about “the elements” of the church? This question comes from reading Peter Leithart’s study in Delivered from the Elements of the World. He helps us regained much needed biblical vocabulary about “the elements.” Now we ask, how might it shape our ministry? At the very least, it should change how we plant and grow churches. Leithart states “Ta stoicheia tou kosmou [The elements of the world] means primarily the… Read more

Is the Chinese Church a Test-Case for “The Benedict Option”?

If you’ve been on the web but haven’t heard of Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option, you need to loosen up your internet filters a bit. David Brooks is correct when he says the book is “already the most discussed and most important religious book of the decade.” Any book that both Al Mohler and Stanley Hauerwas could support is worthy of reading. Within a week of getting the book, I read it almost twice through. While the book offers “a… Read more