Dynamics of Christian Spirituality
This is a succinct summary of the central ideas in my book A Little Guide to Christian Spirituality. It presents three dynamics that are always operating in concert within the real thing. The first, the relational, deals with being in a healthy relationship to God and others. The second, the transformational, examines the sanctifying and healing changes God’s Spirit works in our own souls. The third one, the vocational, considers the new life and mission to which we are called.
Reflections on Christian Community: An Interview with Gilbert Bilezikian
Gilbert Bilezikian is a gifted evangelical scholar and communicator, native of France, long-time
Yearning for God: The Potential and Poverty of the Catholic Spirituality of Francis de Sales
There is renewed interest among evangelicals, as well there might be, in what is now known as spirituality or spiritual formation. Yet often we are at a loss when we try to move “beyond the Quiet Time.” So it is entirely appropriate that we cast our net more widely, and explore the resources of Christian traditions beyond our own. However, such resources should always be utilized selectively and with discernment. The rich but mixed spiritual legacy of Roman Catholic Francis de Sales (1567-1622) provides an opportunity to do just that.
Wonder and the Revitalization of Evangelical Theology
For the sake of Christ’s kingdom in these muddle-headed times, evangelical systematic theology needs to be reinstated at the center of the intellectual life of the church. Nonetheless, for this to happen there also needs to be a renewal of the intrinsic character and quality of this enterprise. Our theology needs most of all to be revitalized through an infusion of a spirit of wonder. Such an infusion would serve as an antidote to skepticism, stimulate deeper inquiry, and make theology more recognizably religious and supportive of worship.
Becoming the People’s Book: A Brief History of the Bible in China
Whether China’s rising geo-political influence will be matched by a vibrant Christian formation of its national soul will depend on whether the Bible becomes truly “the people’s book” of the People’s Republic of China. This article reviews the long, historic struggle to make it such.
Smash-Mouth Apologetics Versus Grace-Filled Persuasion
The apologetic enterprise involves ideas, but it is also profoundly relational. The great challenge before us as Christian apologists is tospeak and live in ways that combine uncompromising faithfulness to revealed truth with a grace-filled spirit of loving service and uncommon civility.
The French-Canadian Missionary Society: A Study in Evangelistic Zeal and Civic Ambition
The French Canadian Missionary Society (1839-81) represents one of the most extensive Protestant efforts ever made to evangelize the French-speaking inhabitants of North America. Its leaders were members of the Anglo-Saxon commercial class of Lower Canada, and their evangelistic zeal, though genuine, was far from disinterested. The Gospel, they believed, would surely transform Lower Canada, and the ensuing progress, prosperity and peace would be blessings in which the FCMS leaders themselves would share.
The Cross and the Crescent: A Christian Response to Islam
Some find it tempting to construe America’s present war again terrorism as a religious war between Christianity and Islam, a war that can be carried out on the battlefield and advanced with weapons of physical destruction. To think and speak this way will have tragic consequences for the cause of Christ. This is America’s war with terrorism; it is not another Christian war (crusade) against Islam.
When We Differ Sharply: Pursuing Truth and Preserving Community
The recent controversy within the Evangelical Theological Society over so-called Openness theology raises broader questions: What should we do with the views with which we disagree? And how should we treat those who espouse them? This article argues that the purpose of a theological society is to provide a forum for the consideration of ideas; it is not a tribunal for judging them. An exclusionary approach (voting people off the island) is ultimately self-destructive. Truth is best discovered, clarified and championed in an open marketplace of perspectives.
Salvation, O the Joyful Sound!
In order to care about salvation, people today must first realize that they are immortal and destined for judgment. Having said this, too often evangelicals reduce the rich biblical concept of salvation to “fire insurance” in the afterlife. Salvation is in fact a dynamic motif—one that represents our deliverance from not only the guilt, but also the power, and ultimately every evil and painful consequence, of sin. It is, God’s comprehensive solution to human suffering—a divine deliverance program that begins here and now.
Christ and the Powers of Darkness: A Perspective on Halloween
Christians are concerned, and increasingly frightened, by the growing celebration of darkness and the powers of evil at Halloween. The ultimate solution is not merely to soften the contours of an establishing cultural tradition (by holding harvest festivals on church premises, for example). Rather, we must creatively reclaim the early church tradition of celebrating Christ as Victor over all our fears, superstitions, and the powers of darkness themselves.