In Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, bishop and social activist John Shelby Spong argues that 200 years of biblical scholarship has been withheld from lay Christians. In this brilliant follow-up to Spong’s previous books Eternal Life and Jesus for the Non-Religious, Spong not only reveals the crucial truths that have long been kept hidden from the public eye, but also explores what the history of the Bible can teach us about reading its stories today and living our lives for tomorrow. Sarah Sentilles, author of Breaking Up With God: A Love Story, applauds John Shelby Spong’s Reclaiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, writing that “pulsing beneath his brilliant, thought-provoking, passionate book is this question: can Christianity survive the education of its believers?…A question Bishop Spong answers with a resounding yes.”
Reclaiming Mission as Constructive Theology offers a compelling case for the need to integrate God's mission and missional church conversation with a public and post-colonial study of World Christianity. Driven by a commitment to publicly engaged theology that takes seriously the reality of Global Christianity, Paul Chung presents a vital new model for understanding the mission of God as a dynamic word-event. This is argued in conversation with contemporary missional theology and analysis of the development of Global Christianity, and as such brings important transcultural issues to bear on contemporary American conversations about the missional church. All of this serves to innovatively stimulate this missional church conversation and more directly address the various questions that arise in pursuing mission in a multiculuralized American society.
The effect of religious factors on politics has been a key issue since the end of the Cold War and the subsequent rise of religious terrorism. However, the systematic investigations of these topics have focused primarily on the effects of religion on domestic and international conflict. Scriptures, Shrines, Scapegoats, and World Politics offers a comprehensive evaluation of the role of religion in international relations, broadening the scope of investigation to such topics as the relationship between religion and cooperation, religion and conflict, and the relationship between religion and the quality of life. Religion is often manipulated by political elites to advance their principal goal of political survival. Zeev Maoz and Errol A. Henderson find that no specific religion is either consistently more bellicose or consistently more cooperative than other religions. However, religious similarity between states tends to reduce the propensity of conflict and increase the opportunity for security cooperation. The authors find a significant relationship between secularism and human security.
In this compact, fluently written survey of logical fallacies, Adam Murrell provides myriad examples of ways we go about being illogical--how we deceive ourselves and others, how we think and argue in ways that are uncritical, disorganized, or irrelevant. From billboards to bumper stickers to radio to television, fallacious arguments are seemingly everywhere we look. Reclaiming Reason was designed to teach people how to counter this trend, how to reason with clarity, relevance, and purpose at a time when passions and emotion frequently override sound judgment. This concise handbook is essential for Christians as they study logic, the art of reasoning well--of learning to think God's thoughts after him. A book of remarkable sensibility, Reclaiming Reason is unassumingly relaxed, informal, and easily digestible.
Some argue for a literal treatment of the first 12 chapters of Genesis; others accept some form of deistic evolution. But what is its real message? Melvin Tinker argues that we should focus on the intended meaning of the text. Genesis challenges the nations surrounding Israel to a different view of the world. For example, God has no genealogy, unlike gods of surrounding nations. 'The two great lights' are so described because the words 'sun' and 'moon' referred to regional deities. When God rested on the seventh day, the day of contemplation of his good creation, this would have upset the Babylonians who considered seven an unlucky number. This is just the start. Genesis is pregnant with meaning and challenges to both the ancient world and the world today. Here are the foundational themes of the Christian faith: God's mercy; human dignity and purpose; God's mission to heal the nations.
In recent years, more and more Christians have come to appreciate the Bible's teaching that the ultimate blessed hope for the believer is not an otherworldly heaven; instead, it is full-bodied participation in a new heaven and a new earth brought into fullness through the coming of God's kingdom. Drawing on the full sweep of the biblical narrative, J. Richard Middleton unpacks key Old Testament and New Testament texts to make a case for the new earth as the appropriate Christian hope. He suggests its ethical and ecclesial implications, exploring the difference a holistic eschatology can make for living in a broken world.
A book for anyone who cares deeply about the future of the church. Once upon a time there was a version of our faith that was practically . . . irresistible. But that was then. Today we preach, teach, write, and communicate as if nothing has changed. As if “The Bible says it,” still settles it. It’s time to hit pause on much of what we’re doing and consider the faith modeled by our first-century brothers and sisters who had no official Bible, no status, and humanly speaking, little chance of survival. What did they know that we don’t? What made their faith so compelling, so defensible, so irresistible? Buckle up . . . you’re about to find out. More importantly, Andy will invite you to embrace the version of faith that, against all odds, initiated a chain of events resulting in the most significant and extensive cultural transformation the world has ever seen. A version we must embrace if we are to be salt and light in an increasingly savorless and dark world. “More than any other book I’ve read in years, Irresistible has stretched my view of Scripture. I can’t hear or read a passage from the Old or New Testaments without thinking about Andy’s provocative insights. If you and I take this book seriously, our lives and our churches will never be the same.”—Kara Powell, PhD, executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute and coauthor of Growing Young “Irresistible is like a once-in-a-generation shot across the bow. Andy Stanley takes a lifetime of accumulated insight and wisdom about the Christian faith, history, and why the church isn’t connecting with our current culture, and combines them together in a masterpiece work.” —Carey Nieuwhof, author and founding pastor, Connexus Church “Warning: This book will set you and your ministry back—back to the first century and the approach to advancing the gospel modeled by Jesus and the apostles. Andy reminds us that the resurrection was at the center of the first-century apologetic. Then he challenges twenty-first century believers to reclaim it as the center of ours as well. I agree with Andy—this approach changed the world once. I’m convinced it could do so again. Read and apply now!”—Frank Turek, Christian author, public speaker, and radio host “This book challenged me to rethink my thoughts about the Old Testament, discuss with fellow believers what I was learning, do more connecting and less correcting of others, and be salt and light, making things better and brighter. I love how Andy loves people . . . ALL of them.”—John Maxwell, author of The 360 Degree Leader “It’s time for the church to rethink how it presents a timeless gospel to this generation. In Irresistible, Andy Stanley challenges us to make sure we handle the Scriptures with the kind of integrity that compels everyone to seriously consider following Jesus. Any Christian who reads this book will suddenly find themselves embracing the mission of Jesus with a new passion.”—Reggie Joiner, author; founder and CEO of Orange “Andy Stanley takes you on a historic journey to rediscover the first-generation passion of what it means to faithfully follow Christ. This book will knock you off center, push you out of complacency, and reawaken an unshakable faith that cannot be ignored.”—Craig Groeschel, pastor of Life.Church and author of Hope in the Dark—Believing God Is Good When Life Is Not
God's favor towards some serves God's plan for the larger world. The Bible's affirmation of Israel's divine election is often ignored or even repudiated by contemporary Christians and Jews who are scandalized by the possibility that God might favor one person or group over another. Beginning with the stories of family rivalry in Genesis and in working through a host of other biblical texts, Joel Kaminsky explores the dynamics of election. Why does God favor certain people? How do the chosen and non-chosen interact? And what might these texts teach us about God's intention for the world?
The Bible tells the stories of many empires, and many are still considered some of the largest of the ancient and classical world: the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, and finally the Romans. In this provocative book, nine experts bring a critical analysis of these world empires in the background of the Old and New Testaments. As they explain, the Bible developedagainstthe context of these empires, providing concrete meaning to the countercultural claims of Jews and Christians that their God was the true King, the real Emperor. Each chapter describes how to read the Bible as a reaction to empire and points to how to respond to the biblical message to resist imperial powers in every age.
As a Chinese woman, a feminist theologian, and a biblical scholar, Kwok Pui-lan brings a new perspective and voice to the task of hermeneutics. Her multi-dimensional reading of the Bible draws on a tradition much older than that of the West while it simultaneously incorporates the insights of contemporary feminist and Third World theologies.
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul places love at the very center of what it means to embrace life in Christ. All other spiritual gifts are worth nothing in comparison. But the love explained in those verses is nothing short of radical. Fernando’s pastoral work—in the midst of the cultural and ethnic tensions of Sri Lanka—often brought up a very real and honest question: “Can the biblical teaching about love actually be practiced?” The answer he discovered is a resounding “yes.” The radical love of God is not only real, but it is the key to experiencing joy in the pain and suffering of this world. Believers must look to the Scriptures for God’s teaching on the true nature of love, its divine origins, and its power for those who trust in Christ. This book offers reflections on the Bible’s consistent teaching on love and shares real-life experiences of learning to love in difficult situations.
In Texts, Rocks, and Talk biblical scholar and teacher John Lanci suggests that many have lost the ability to focus on the essentials, to experience a Jesus Christ alive and powerful in our midst. He responds by inviting readers on a journey back to the Bible. Lanci conveys the experience of interpreting the Bible, inviting readers to witness the interpretation of one particular passage from the Hebrew Bible and one from the New Testment from start to finish. Along the way he covers some of the same ground that biblical introductions present, as he explains what interpreters do and why they do it. Readers will gain a deeper understanding of the need to interpret texts and greater confidence in their ability to enter into the conversation that sacred texts provide. They will also have a greater confidence in the possibility that their Christian community can open itself up to that divine conversation. Texts, Rocks, and Talk can serve as an introduction to the Bible textbook for college undergraduates, parish discussion groups, or individuals who do not have a lot of theological background but are interested in finding their way into the Bible. The chapters are relatively short and clearly written, with questions for reflection and discussion. Chapters in Preliminaries are "Why Take It on the Road?" "What the Bible Is Not, " and "A Preview of Coming Attractions: What the Bible Is." Chapters in The Song of Songs are "Sex on the Page, " "Healthy Suspicion: A Walking Staff for Our Journey, " "What is the Book?" "Lo and the Rocks, " "Lifestyles of the Dead and Buried: What Archaeology Is and What It Is Not, " "Making the Heart Forget: The Love Songs of Ancient Egypt, " and "The Egyptian LoveSongs and the Song of Songs." The chapter in An Interlude is "An Interlude with Jesus and Christ." Chapters in First Corinthians are "Our Brother Paul, " "We Raise an Eyebrow in Surprise: Paul, the Corinthians, and a Letter, " "The Rhetoric of a Text, " "What Kind of Fool Is God?" "A Little History, a Little Wisdom, a Little Mystery, " "The Rigamorale of Roman Power and Corinthian Rocks, " "The No-Relax Tour Continues into Darker Realms, " and "The Great Reversal." Chapters in Talk: Counterimagining the Wor are "Three Umbrellas and a Sea Change, " "Counterimagining the World, " "We Confront the Passion of God, " "In Praise of Christian Flesh, " and "The Journey, Not the Arrival, Matters." Includes an Introduction, Epilogue, and Notes, Citations, Suggestions for Further Readings.