Friday, September 22, 2017

Magazine: EKD The magazine for the anniversary of the Reformation in 2017

The Evangelical Church in Germany has produced a magazine for the anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.
The magazine is available at http://www.gott-neu-vertrauen.de/sites/default/files/downloads/FINAL%20-neu-%20Reformation2017_English.pdf

Articles inside the magazine include:

EXPERIENCING GOD IN NEW WAYS
“THE TIMES ARE OUT OF JOINT”
The Crisis of Culture and the Recollection of the Reformation
INDIVIDUALISATION O R SECULARISATION? PLURALISATI N!
Church in the Context of the Present Times
THE EXPERIENCE OF GOD
God as Mystery behind Creation
EXPERIENCING GOD IN NEW WAYS
A Practical Instruction Guide for Encounters with God
THE MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE OF GOD IN MEISTER ECKHART’S WRITINGS
The Birth of God in the “Fortress” of the Soul
MY REFOR M ATION
INSPIR ATION FOR A SERMON Psalm 78:3–4

THINKING GOD IN NEW WAYS
A MYSTERY WHICH GROWS EVER MORE INTENSE
HOW HUM ANKIND EXPERIENCES GOD
Schleiermacher’s Response to Ideas about God Which Were Prevalent in the Enlightenment
THE PROVOCATION THAT WAS KARL BARTH’S
The Starting Point of Thinking about God
GOD IS KNOWN IN OUR LOVE FOR OUR NEIGHBOURS
Only Our Hearts Can Know God
THINKING. GOD. I N NEW WAYS:
The Academic Way
AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED, IT IS ENOUGH
Summer School: In Dialogue with Science, Church and Society
THE REFORMATION AS A CITIZEN OF THE WORLD
The Appeal of the Reformation in Predominantly Non-Christian Societies
INTER JECTION BY MARTIN LUTHER
INSPIR ATION FOR A SERMON Romans 11:33

PETITIONING GOD IN NEW WAYS
HEALING OF MEMORIES
Successfully Dealing with Distressing Memories
WHAT AND HOW WE WILL CELEBRATE IN 2017
2017 AS A FESTIVAL OF CHRIST
Praying Together for Unity With Greater Regularity
HEALING OF MEMORIES
The Evangelical Free Churches in Germany
M ARTIN LUTHER AND THE JEWS
A Necessary Reminder on the Occasion of the Reformation Anniversary
EKD DECLARATION
FREEDOM TO SIN
At Once Righteous and a Sinner
NEITHER CHURCH NOR HERETIC
Gottfried Arnold’s “Nonpartisan History of the Church and of Heretics”
INTER JECTION BY PHILIP MELANCHTHON
MY REFOR M ATION
INSPIR ATION FOR A SERMON Psalm 51:3

SPEAKING ABOUT GOD IN NEW WAYS
JESUS RECOUNTS PARABLES
People Feel God Entering Their Lives
GODPARENTS OF A EUROPE OF SOLIDARIT Y
The European Roadmap Links Together 68 Cities
THE RECIPE OF A GOOD STORY
To Enjoy Telling Stories
BEHOLD, I A M M AKING ALL THINGS NEW!
Meditation on Revelation 21:5
REFORMATION TODAY –
WHERE GROUNDBREAKING IDEAS ARE FORMED
“I DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD – BUT I MISS HIM”
Contemporary Literature Longs for a God
MY REFOR M ATION
INSPIRATION FOR A SERMON
Psalm 145:6

CELEBRATING GOD IN NEW WAYS
WHY DO WE CELEBRATE?
In a Field of Tension between Anarchy, Order and Compulsion
CELEBR ATING THE FESTIVAL OF FAITH TOGETHER
CROSS-ROADS IN LIFE
In Occasional Services, We Share Our Most Significant Life Events
PROTESTANT AND HUMOROUS
Faith and Humour are not Opposites
INTER JECTION BY MARTIN LUTHER
MY REFOR M ATION
INSPIRATION FOR A SERMON
Luke 14:17

DISCOVERING GOD IN NEW WAYS
GATES OF FREEDOM – WORLD EXHIBITION REFORMATION
GATES INTO THE WORLD
Important Questions about our Present Times Are Addressed in the Seven Gates of Wittenberg
YOUNG, PROTESTANT, INTERNATIONAL
FROM THE RIGHTS ESTABLISHED IN CONSEQUENCE OF THE REFORMATION TO THE
MODEL OF THE FUTURE
The Liberal Constitutional Law Concerning Religion in Germany
LUTH E R, PAUL , GOD –
Discovering the Discoverers in New Ways
”IT WOULD NOT BE HELPFUL IF WE COULD SEE GOD”
Theologising with Children
MY REFOR M ATION
INSPIRATION FOR A SERMON 2 Corinthians 3:18

 TRUSTING GOD IN NEW WAYS
TRUST AS A FOUNDATION OF CHRISTIAN RESPONSIBILITY
Trusting God means taking on Responsibility for Creation and for our Fellows
EVERY-DAY-LIFE AS WORSHIP
The Reformation Discovery of the “World” as a Location in which Faith can Prove itself
CHURCH AND MONEY – A CONTRADICTION IN TERMS?
Social Responsibility and Financial Investment in Line with Ethical Principles
LEAVING THE CHURCH IN THE CENTRE OF THE VILLAGE
Speaking about the World and about God always means speaking also about Jesus Christ
INTER JECTION BY JOHN CALVIN
MY REFORMATION
INSPIRATION FOR A SERMON  Psalm 125:1

REFORM CENTRES
HELPING TO BIRTH CHANGE
The EKD-Centre Mission in the Region
QUALITY IN WORSHIP SERVICES
The EKD-Centre for Quality Development in Worship Services
NEW WAYS TO PREACH
Wittenberg Institute of Preaching and Homiletics
A PLACE FOR ORIENTATION AND A SPACE FOR DEVELOPMENT
The EKD-Centre for Leadership and Management

OUTLOOK
2017 AND BEYOND
Broadening the Outlook to Include the European Dimension of the Reformation
THE TIME HAS COME TO PROCLAIM OUR THESES
Theses which could Influence the World in New Ways

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Book: The world Jesus knew-A Curious Kid's Guide to Life in the First Century

Jesus often told stories using everyday objects to help his listeners understand life with God. But for most of us, the deep imagery and meaning behind those objects has been lost to history. This book helps kids discover the world Jesus lived in through maps, charts, graphs, and other infographic elements. They'll learn about the culture Jesus lived in—:his Jewish religion, the power of the ruling Roman Empire, the role of fishermen and carpenters and shepherds. It's an invitation to explore the stories of Jesus in their cultural context, bringing new life to familiar biblical events. This beautifully illustrated book will be a family favorite that kids and adults will come back to over and over again.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Article: Missional or Attractional. The value of embracing a both/and mentality

Article:  Missional or Attractional? The Value of Embracing a Both/And Mentality
Every Christian should be missional and every church should be attractional
by EDDIE COLE
Much has been said and written to help today’s churches become more missional. Organizations, parachurch communities, and conferences abound in trying to move the Church in this direction. This emphasis is certainly justified in light of how many Evangelical churches are not missional and are either in a state of plateau or decline.
Unfortunately, many churches are not trying in any measurable way to reach the people in their community who are unchurched. Too often, churches satisfy themselves with biblical teaching, music, fellowship groups, or any number of good things. They are intoxicated with a sense of church busy-ness and therefore have a sense that they are on mission. The problem is, these things too often become subtle substitutes for the mission of God. We have to be reminded that our mission is to advance His kingdom on a daily basis, being and making disciples who worship and follow Jesus.
My predecessor as Eastern District Superintendent for the EFCA, Dr. Steve Musser, did a great job speaking to the Eastern District churches about transitioning from being teaching centers to missional outposts. He led us to adopt the motto, “Churches without walls.” Some of our churches really benefited from his efforts, but all of our leaders were challenged to keep the mission in front of our churches. I inherited this value and intend to keep it as long as I’m in this role.
If you want to dive into some good reading about what it means for a church to be missional, you can go here and see some well-thought writing from credible evangelical writers and practitioners.
But in saying that we should be missional, does that mean we should completely discard the idea and value of anything attractional?
Before I address that, let me very succinctly address what it means for a church to be attractional. While much more could and should be said, the larger, more effective attractional churches strategically rely heavily upon using their ability to attract large numbers of people to their gatherings in order to accomplish mission. They focus a lot of energy on the worship services and programs and then they work outward from this standpoint. As a model, this approach is still working in many places.
In spite of the growing number of critics, the continued growth of megachurches in America at the very least suggests that the attractional model of ministry has merits worth studying. Here is a good report for further reading.
In 2011, Billy Hornsby, co-founder and president of the Association of Related Churches (ARC), wrote a book entitled The Attractional Church. In it, he revealed that ARC has a 90 percent rate of effectiveness in their church plants, compared to 68 percent rate among other Evangelical groups. As you could guess from the title of the book, ARC trains leaders for church planting using attractional methodology. But it’s certainly not a pure approach.
In the first chapter Hornsby asked the question, “Is the attractional church missional?” He explained that their church planters are trained with these three convictions:

  1. Individual members are ‘missional’ (they accept responsibility to share the gospel)
  2. Individual members are ‘incarnational’ (they accept responsibility to live like Christ outside church)
  3. Churches are ‘attractional’ (they accept responsibility to bring people into a kingdom mindset in their gatherings)

In other words, while ARC’s approach is distinct and different from some leading missional thinkers, there is the shared understanding that the Church is here on mission to make disciples and advance God’s kingdom.
On the surface, it may seem like missional churches are against doing anything representative of the attractional model and attractional churches are too busy focusing on drawing crowds to spend any time or energy on training members for missional living. In truth, this does happen sometimes. But neither actually should be the case.
If missional churches are going to gather at all, shouldn’t they leverage the gathering for all its worth? If attractional churches are going to make disciples, don’t they need to teach them to be disciples who live on mission with Jesus?
Every Christian should be missional and every church should be attractional.
Therefore, every pastor should strive to lead with a both/and mentality.

Dr. Eddie Cole is District Superintendent of the Eastern District of the EFCA.

This article appeared http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/august/missional-or-attractional-value-of-embracing-bothand-mental.html 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book: New Life New Love by Noel Due

New Life New Love will enable you to encounter the God who offers new life to all people. 
You will appreciate who you are as you discover who God is. 
The significance of the Bible for your life will become apparent. 
New possibilities will emerge for greater peace of mind and well-being.
It will draw you deeper into an understanding of God’s forgiveness and love. 
Life affirming relationships with God and others will be experienced.
New Life New Love will enable you to encounter the God who offers new life to all people

New Life New Love is two books in one, with 16 chapters altogether. 

Highly recommended for one-on-one or small group dialogue, each chapter is summarised in a brief video interview with the author, Dr Noel Due.



 
What others are saying...

Are you curious about Christianity? Are you interested in finding out about what Christians believe? Then New Life New Love is the book for you. Noel Due has managed to achieve what many attempt to do and fail. He has distilled into two texts a great snapshot of what it means to be a Christian. And the book (well it’s actually two books for the price of one!) presents the key themes and ideas of the Christian faith in a logical and engaging manner. What a joy it is to read that ‘You are more wonderful than you realise’ in chapter one, and what a challenge it is to come to grips with ‘You are more dangerous than you imagine’ in chapter two. Grab the book and grab a Christian who can support you through the book.   The journey will bring new life and new love.  Dr Tania Nelson Executive Officer Local Mission, Lutheran Church of Australia

‘New Life, New Love’ is an excellent, biblically based discussion resource which explores God’s invitation to individuals to participate in new life and new love in Christ as the Holy Spirit creates faith and helps that faith to grow. ‘New Life, New Love’ leads the reader deeply into the biblical texts in language, metaphors and imagery which speak simply and clearly to our current generation. The book anticipates important questions which may be asked by participants and then addresses them directly in clarifying metaphors and examples. It also provides space for reflecting personally on the text, sharing in discussion and then, most importantly, praying together. Valuable footnotes explain some of the information which may be unfamiliar to readers. Interesting and very helpful insights from the writings of Martin Luther are also included. In all of this, the emphasis is on the action of God in the life of faith and love of the participant.  ‘New Life, New Love’ is also an excellent resource for those who may have drifted away from their relationship with God, or for practicing Christians who may gain important new insights into what the Bible says about a life of faith in Christ as they are led by the Spirit. Rev Dr Malcolm Bartsch Emeritus lecturer and former Head of the School of Educational Theology, Lutheran Church of Australia.

When an esteemed biblical scholar and teacher like the Rev. Dr Noel Due decides to write a biblical study on the invitation and implications of the Gospel for unchurched or dechurched people living in the 21st Century, what you get is his new two part book New Life and New Love.  This one snuck up on me. It leads you to the edge of a vast ocean and tempts you to do more that pick up shells on the shore. On my first reading of it I experienced that most rare of emotions these days - fresh hope - as I was immersed by the author in a new sense of self-discovery through seeing who God really is. Then as I reflected upon it with others, I started to realise its incredible implications; the adventure and possibilities that only a new life in God can bring. Highly recommended for one-on-one or small group study. Dean Eaton Mission Facilitator and Church Planting Mentor, Lutheran Church of Australia, author of Sent Seeking the Orphans of God.

Free pdf copies are available at https://www.lca.org.au/services-resources-training/study-guides/new-life-new-love/

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Book: Martin Luther on reading the bible as Christian scripture

Above all else that the sixteenth-century German Reformer was known for, Martin Luther was a Doctor of the Holy Scriptures. One of the most characteristic features of Luther's approach to Scripture was his resolved christological interpretation of the Bible. Many of the Reformer's interpreters have looked back upon Luther's "Christ-centered" exposition of the Scriptures with sentimentality but have often labeled it as "Christianization," particularly in regards to Luther's approach of the Old Testament, dismissing his relevance for today's faithful readers of God's Word.

This study revisits this assessment of Luther's christological interpretation of Scripture by way of critical analysis of the Reformer's "prefaces to the Bible" that he wrote for his translation of the Scriptures into the German vernacular. This work contends that Luther foremost believes Jesus Christ to be the sensus literalis of Scripture on the basis of the Bible's messianic promise, not enforcing a dogmatic principle onto the scriptural text and its biblical authors that would be otherwise foreign to them. This study asserts that Luther's exegesis of the Bible's "letter" (i.e., his engagement with the biblical text) is primarily responsible for his conviction that Christ is Holy Scripture's literal sense.


What others are saying?
"Marsh has provided fresh insight on Luther's hermeneutics and his preaching, especially of Old Testament texts. Marsh focuses on Luther's own words to understand what the reformer taught about a Christian reading of Scripture. This is an excellent contribution to the contemporary discussions."  --Jason K. Lee, Professor of Theological Studies, Dean, School of Biblical and Theological Studies, Cedarville University

"Through a close and learned reading of key texts in the reformer's canon, William M. Marsh shows that Christ is the focus of Luther's interpretation of the Old and New Testaments. Martin Luther on Reading the Bible as Christian Scripture makes an important contribution to our understanding of Luther's biblical theology and hermeneutics. By linking the human witness to Christ with the word of God, Marsh demonstrates theologically how in Luther's thought the Bible's truth is connected to the living reality of Christ."  --Christine Helmer, Arthur E. Andersen Teaching and Research Professor, Professor of German and Religious Studies, Northwestern University

"In this volume William Marsh explores the manner in which Luther listened to and conveyed to others this conviction that God converses with his people in and through The Book. . . . A rewarding read indeed!"  --Robert Kolb, from the foreword