What have you been reading recently?

I get asked about book recommendations a lot. I hesitate to give out “recommendations” because I always want to qualify my suggestion. Instead, I’ll just offer some thoughts on some of my recent reads in case someone is looking for something on these topics–– Tim Gombis’ The Drama of Ephesians: Participating in the Triumph of God This is a short but well written narrative reading of Ephesians from an expert on the book. It’s not a commentary but in many… Read more

A Poll: What is the Relationship Between Law and Honor-Shame in the Bible?

[polldaddy poll=6809619] Read more

The New Covenant in a Chinese Context (Part 3): Defined by Ethnicity?

In the previous posts, we saw that the new covenant has a collectivist dimension and changes more than simply our legal status. Our identity consists in our relationships. Who do we identify with? From whom do we come from? In addition, we have to ask not only how we are different from others (a western fascination) but also how are we the same as other people. The first past of Jeremiah 31:34 has made some people scratch their heads, while… Read more

The New Covenant in a Chinese Context (Part 2): New Hearts and No Sin

This is part 2 of a series trying to interpret the new covenant from a Chinese perspective. In the last post, I sought to highlight a subtle point missed in many discussions about the new covenant–––a new collective identity. Typically, Western theology lays stress on the individual’s salvation, specifically his or her being forgiven of sin. This is a wonderful blessing but it has been emphasized to the near exclusion of other aspects of the new covenant. For example, see… Read more

The New Covenant in a Chinese Context (Part 1): A Collectivistic Understanding of Identity

One thing that gets me excited is thinking about the way that an eastern (e.g. Chinese) worldview can contribute to the task of theology. Stephen Bevans speaks for many when he writes, “There is no such thing a ‘theology’; there is only contextual theology” (Models of Contextual Theology, 2008; p. 3). The Bible is a book for all of humanity. Therefore, we should expect the Bible to speak in ways and about topics that typically resonate more with Easterners than… Read more

A legal solution won't solve a shame problem. Agree or Disagree?

“If sin is framed in terms of shame, however, then a legal solution to something as deep and existential as shame will be inappropriate.” Would you agree with this? Disagree? Or would you want to qualify it a bit? I read this line in Robin Stockitt’s Restoring the Shamed: Towards a Theology of Shame (Cascade Books, 2012).   Later, he adds, “If this is how our status before God is depicted then the “solution” to our damaged status must turn… Read more

Reply to Questions about Compromising the Gospel by Settling for Truth

This is second post where I answer a reader’s questions about my latest article, “We Compromise the Gospel When We Settle for Truth: How ‘Right’ Interpretation Lead to ‘Wrong’ Contextualization.” Comment from John: Absolute moralism/relativism—this is a little difficult to swallow.  I understand and agree with much of what you say hear.  From a Chinese perspective, they fear in making moral judgments even within contexts that demand one.  For example, abortion.  Is this right or wrong?  Pirating software or DVDs?  I know the latter is… Read more

Questions About What Happens When We Compromise the Gospel by Settling for Truth

As I announced previously, my newest article was published in Global Missiology. Someone read it and sent me a lot of good questions. I know from experience that others have similar questions. He said I could post our interaction. For the sake of his privacy, I’ll just call this person “John.” I hope you find it helpful. Let a comment with your own thoughts. This is PART ONE of two. For those of you who have not read the article,… Read more

7 Reasons to Get to the Mission Field Before You're 30 (from The Gospel in China blog)

Here are some good reasons why you should NOT wait for the kids to get older before getting on the mission field. This is a nice post by The Gospel in China, entitled 7 Reasons to Get to the Mission Field Before You’re 30. Here are the seven reasons, but you’ll want to check out the explanations that go with each. 1. Languages are hard to learn 2. The early legwork can be brutal 3. There is a steep learning… Read more

Explaining the Trinity in Chinese Language

One of the glaring weaknesses of missionaries to China is the lack of theological language, as opposed to more general religious language. You may be surprised to know even many Chinese Christians don’t know key terms related to core theological ideas. From time to time. I’ll give my own suggestions for teaching and discussing various biblical doctrines. I warn you, however, that Chinese theological language has not become as standardized as it is the West. So, some may dispute my… Read more

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