BA Books & Authors on the Web – April 3, 2015

Cover ArtAt RBL, Bálint Károly Zabán reviewed John Cook and Robert Holmstedt’s Beginning Biblical Hebrew.

On the whole, the kernel of the book is very well and carefully written but equally impressively designed. With its focus on especially pragmatics, the textbook delves into a subject sometimes avoided by other grammars—a joy to read, a joy to use, and a joy to teach from!

Also at RBL, Darian Lockett reviewed the Paideia commentary on James and Jude, written by John Painter and David A. deSilva.

CHOICEconnect reviewed Early Christianity in Contexts edited by William Tabbernee (here), as well as Handbook of Religion edited by Terry Muck, Harold Netland, and Gerald McDermott (here).

Andy Naselli recommended Rodney Decker’s Reading Koine Greek.

Daniel Block’s For the Glory of God was reviewed at Spoiled Milk.

Engaging the Christian Scriptures, by Andrew E. Arterbury, W. H. Bellinger Jr., and Derek S. Dodson, was reviewed at the Young Restless Reformed Blog.

At Network, Greg Sinclair reflected on religious diversity in light of Our Global Families by Todd Johnson and Cindy Wu.

The Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series was recommended by The Frederick Faith Debate.

At Euangelion, Michael Bird shared a quote from Peter Oakes’ Galatians commentary.

Nijay Gupta, at Crux Sola, interviewed Mikeal Parsons about his recent Paideia commentary on Luke.

At Comment Magazine, James K. A. Smith shared two work-in-progress excerpts from his forthcoming third volume in the Cultural Liturgies series, Beyond “Creation” and Natural Law and Rethinking the Secular, Redeeming Christendom.

 

BA Books & Authors on the Web – March 27, 2015

Cover ArtAt RBL, Catrin H. Williams reviewed Francis Moloney’s Love in the Gospel of John.

Moloney not only argues convincingly for the pervasiveness of the love theme within John’s narrative, but he demonstrates the crucial importance of this theme for understanding the Gospel’s message about the relationship between God, Jesus and believers. Those interested in John’s theology will, as a result, gain much from reading this valuable study.

Also at RBL, Stephen J. Andrews reviewed The Character of Christian Scripture by Christopher Seitz.

Daniel Block’s For the Glory of God and Doug Moo’s BECNT volume on Galatians were both named as finalists in Bible Reference category of the 2015 Christian Book Awards.

Todd Scacewater, at Exegetical.Tools, reviewed Reading Koine Greek by Rodney Decker.

At Panorama of a Book Saint, Conrade Yap reviewed Created for Community, by Stanley Grenz and Jay Smith.

Michael Philliber reviewed First, Second, and Third John by George Parsenios.

Response magazine featured an article by Jeffrey Overstreet about A Compact Guide to the Whole Bible, by Robert Wall and David Nienhuis.

Two articles, In Defense of Proof-Texting by Brandon Smith and Catholic and Always Reforming at Glimpses Elsewhere, engaged with Reformed Catholicity by Michael Allen and Scott Swain.

Access Evangelical Covenant Church is hosting a book launch party for Todd Johnson and Cindy Wu’s Our Global Families.

 

Todd Johnson and Cindy Wu – Introducing Our Global Families

Introducing Our Global Families
Todd M. Johnson and Cindy M. Wu

Anyone who is married will tell you how challenging it can be to get along with the two different extended families of the bride and the groom. While the groom puzzles over the strange behavior of the bride’s relatives, the bride is likely to enlighten him about irregularities in his own family. While we have learned to navigate family dynamics in our own journeys with our spouses, we’ve also been pondering how to navigate the expanding and shifting dynamics in the wider context of our two “global families.”

Cover ArtWe were born into the human race—one of our global families. As only two of more than seven billion individuals, we are increasingly aware of both the joys and the challenges of getting along with this unfathomable mosaic of peoples, languages, ethnicities, religions, and cultures.

We also claim membership in another global family—the global Christian family. The global Christian family is made up of 2.4 billion people—about a third of the global human family—found in every country of the world. This year 45 million babies will be born into our Christian family, 22 million of us will die, 16 million will join us as adult converts, and 12 million will defect, most to agnosticism. As a result, there will be a net gain of 27 million Christians. That’s a lot of new family members to become acquainted with!

Over the past 115 years, the complexion of this global Christian family has changed dramatically. In 1900, Christians were over 80% white, but now they are over 60% nonwhite. Today, Christians belong to 45,000 different denominations and speak over 3,000 different languages. The gospel has spread across Africa, Asia, and Latin America (the Global South) so that the majority of Christians now live on those continents. Meanwhile, the Global North is becoming more secular, yet it is also more religiously diverse due to migration. Overall, the world is becoming more religious and more religiously diverse.

Increasing diversity arouses questions of identity: How do the shifts within the religious landscape impact the way Christians view themselves and one another, both as members of the global Christian family and as members of the global human family? Is our primary Christian identity our local identity or our global identity? How can we be faithful to our own beliefs while being generous and engaging with others, especially when it comes to working for the common good?

Answering these questions requires a new approach to identity—one that emphasizes the universality of Christian community and common humanity. But the world and the church seem to lead people in the direction of emphasizing difference instead of similarity.

We as Christians—especially North American evangelicals—need to be challenged in our loyalties and our boundaries in order to navigate today’s changing world. As Christian diversity increases globally, there is a greater need to emphasize the similarities of our shared faith. We need a broader sense of Christian identity as we attempt to express our faith within the myriad of Christian denominations and traditions worldwide. We also need to be better informed about other religions and to build significant friendships with people of other religions.

So what needs to change or adapt? First, it is a matter of identity as members of the global Christian family. If we identify ourselves first as followers of Christ and second by our nationality, denomination, and other distinctives, we will provide a stronger witness to our common faith with Christians around the world. Second, it is a matter of participation in the global human family. If we identify as global citizens, we will think differently about our role in the world. In both cases, we will recognize and respect difference but be quicker to look for commonality.

One thing is for certain: we can’t be content as Christians if we separate ourselves from either of our global families.

Valuing common identity above that of any specific ethnic, linguistic, national, or social identity is a Christian virtue. And this might very well be a missing dimension in humanity’s attempts to overcome its greatest global challenges. As followers of Christ we can do no less than to faithfully follow Jesus’s example of loving our neighbors enough to get to know them and identify with them. Imitating Christ in our relationships with both global families is one of the great opportunities of the twenty-first century.

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Todd M. Johnson (PhD, William Carey International University) is director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity and associate professor of global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. He is also visiting research fellow at the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs at Boston University. Johnson is coauthor of The World’s Religions in Figures and the World Christian Encyclopedia, and coeditor of the Atlas of Global Christianity.

Cindy M. Wu (MA, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) has served in church-planting contexts in China, Mexico City, Houston, and Boston. She lives in Houston, Texas.

For more information on Our Global Families, click here.

Theology Moves South – an Excerpt from Our Global Families

The following is an excerpt from Our Global Families, by Todd Johnson and Cindy Wu.

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Cover ArtUntil now, Western scholars have written the dominant theologies of Christianity, but the massive movements of Southern Christianity, whether they be Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, or Independent, will likely chart the future of Christian theology.

Theologians such as the Ghanaian Kwame Bediako have begun to outline the enormous challenges this project holds for African Christians. Malaysian Methodist bishop Hwa Yung poses that as the Asian church grows rapidly, it needs to “self-theologize, developing a theology for itself that is rooted in one’s culture, history and context.” The Northern church would do well to take on the posture of learning. British missiologist David Smith advises,

We are witnesses to the emergence of new centers of spiritual and theological vitality as Christians from the southern continents add their insights to the church’s total knowledge of the incomparable Christ. In the present transitional stage we are moving from a Christendom shaped by the culture of the Western world, to a world Christianity which will develop new spiritual and theological insights as the biblical revelation is allowed to interact with the many cultures in which Christ is now confessed as Lord.

An alternative is the possibility that the differences between Northern and Southern Christianities could cause them to drift apart to such an extent that “the North would define itself against [Southern] Christianity.” But Cuban American historian-theologian Justo González calls the Western/Northern church to humbly join the larger movement of global Christianity.

The fact is that the gospel is making headway among the many tribes, nations, and languages—that it is indeed making more headway among them than it is among the dominant cultures of the North Atlantic. The question is not whether there will be a multicultural church. Rather, the question is whether those who have become so accustomed to seeing the gospel expressed only or primarily in terms of those dominant cultures will be able to participate in the life of the multicultural church that is already a reality.

©2015 by Todd M. Johnson and Cindy M. Wu. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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For more information on Our Global Families, click here.

 

New Release: Our Global Families

Cover ArtAs Christians, we belong to not only a diverse global Christian family but also a diverse human family. In this volume Todd Johnson and Cindy Wu show how divisions within these families work against our desire to bring about positive change in the world.

Utilizing the latest research data on global Christianity and world religions, Our Global Families provides an overview of global Christian identity, exploring how we can be faithful to our own tradition while engaging with Christians across denominations, be better informed about people of other religions, and be more realistic about our ability to solve the world’s problems.

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“Their insights, cautions, wise words, careful theology, and practical advice make for a book that deserves careful attention from a wide readership.” – Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame

Our Global Families is a thoughtful, provocative, and deeply rewarding book.” – Philip Jenkins, Baylor University

“The best introduction to global Christianity you will find. I heartily recommend it.” – Timothy C. Tennent, Asbury Theological Seminary

“Johnson and Wu have presented world Christianity in all of its diversity, pointing the way to greater unity in hospitality and grace.” – Scott W. Sunquist, Fuller Theological Seminary

“I highly recommend this book for pastors, lay leaders, students, and practitioners who want to experience the fullness of the family of God.” – Christena Cleveland, Bethel University

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Todd M. Johnson (PhD, William Carey International University) is director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity and associate professor of global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. He is also visiting research fellow at the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs at Boston University. Johnson is coauthor of The World’s Religions in Figures and the World Christian Encyclopedia, and coeditor of the Atlas of Global Christianity.

Cindy M. Wu (MA, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) has served in church-planting contexts in China, Mexico City, Houston, and Boston. She lives in Houston, Texas.

For more information on Our Global Families, click here.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – February 20, 2015

Cover ArtIntroducing Evangelical Ecotheology, by Daniel Brunner, Jennifer Butler, and A. J. Swoboda, was reviewed on Odd Is The New Normal.

What this book does, in its amazing depth of research, is gather together thousands of years of theology and tradition into a single place…You can tell that this book was coauthored by teachers (good teachers) in their ability to organize and present such complicated material in a manner that is approachable and enlightening.

Bob on Books reviewed Engaging the Doctrine of Revelation by Matthew Levering.

Todd Johnson and Cindy Wu, co-authors of Our Global Families, wrote a guest post for A. J. Jacobs’ Global Family Reunion.

At Transpositions, Brett Speakman reviewed Jonathan Wilson’s God’s Good World.

Jordan Hillebert, at Reformation 21, reviewed Atonement, Law and Justice by Adonis Vidu.

At Pursuing Veritas, Jacob Prahlow reviewed Thomas O’Loughlin’s The Didache.

Asbury Journal reviewed The Story of Jesus in History and Faith by Lee Martin McDonald, Understanding Christian Mission by Scott Sunquist, Christian Philosophy by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen, Simon Peter in Scripture and Memory by Markus Bockmuehl, and The End of Apologetics by Myron Penner.

At Solidarity Hall, John Medaille wrote Pop Culture and Total War, a reflection on Daniel Bell’s The Economy of Desire.

Andrew Root, author of Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker, was interviewed on Dr. Bill Maier Live.