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Showing posts from February, 2015

Issues Facing Missions Today 29: What is Biblical Marriage?

Issues Facing Missions Today 29: What is Biblical Marriage?
Introduction:
Reflection on the creation stories of Genesis 1.1-2.3 and 2.4-25—which are, of course, intended to be read together—helps us to understand a Biblical view of marriage. Three key aspects of marriage emerge from the stories. Marriage is between complementary beings of the same human species that form a permanent union: male and female. Marriage is for the purpose of procreation and flourishing within creation. And marriage involves the responsibility of exercising authority within the order of creation. Each of these points can be explored with reference to the understanding of being created in God’s image in Gen. 1.26ff. Moreover, in light of the cultural confusion regarding marriage in Western countries, that marriage so understood cannot apply to homosexual unions any more than sexual unions between humans and animals is a clear corollary of what is stated in the Biblical account of creation. Yet, to claim that m…

Issues Facing Missions Today 28: Three Models for Ministry

Issues Facing Missions Today 28: Three Models for Ministry
Introduction
Part of my role in ministry, which especially includes theological education and involvement with mission groups, has entailed figuring out how to minister through an intentional community of disciples of Jesus Christ.  This has been a life-long pursuit, and I’m fully aware of the challenges this side of Paradise!  In this brief blog post, I would like to highlight several distinctions that might help others—including myself and my colleagues.  This is not formal research, and it is not much based on some body of literature.  It is mainly born out of my own experience and thoughts.
I would like to frame these thoughts around a distinction I first came across decades ago in Edward LeRoy Long, Jr.’s A Survey of Recent Christian Ethics.[1]  Long suggests that there are three ways in which to consider and pursue moral change: the institutional, operational, and intentional community.  I have found these useful when consi…

Issues Facing Missions Today 27: What Does the Quran Say about Treatment of Jews and Christians?

Issues Facing Missions Today 27: What Does the Quran Say about Treatment of Jews and Christians?
The Quran seems to offer different advice on what to do with persons of other faiths.  Those of us accustomed to reading ancient texts know that there are legitimate issues of interpretation that need to be considered.  At times, such issues lead us to a different understanding of texts that, on first reading, appear to be saying something else.  There are, for example, issues of translation (and Muslims insist that the Quran cannot accurately be translated from Arabic), the importance of the original context, a possible trajectory of meaning of some sort (such as when the holy war narratives in the Old Testament give way to the pacifism of the early Church due to the teaching and example of Jesus Christ in the New Testament), matters of rhetoric (is extreme language actually hyperbole and not to be taken literally?), and so forth.  Thus, the following identification of texts is mainly offe…