Reflections and resources for lifelong learning for missionaries

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Book Review: Hearers and Doers: A Pastor’s Guide to Making Disciples through Scripture and Doctrine

In his recent book, Hearers and Doers: A Pastor’s Guide to Making Disciples through Scripture and Doctrine, Kevin Vanhoozer makes the claim that everyone is a disciple of someone else. Hearers and Doers: A Pastor’s Guide to Making Disciples Through Scripture and Doctrine by [Vanhoozer, Kevin J.]We all follow someone else’s words or stories. The question is whose words, whose stories are we following. We often follow the stories that provide meaning for our culture. The book identifies as a pastor’s guide but has valuable insights for missionaries. Vanhoozer makes use of Charles Taylor’s (the author of A Secular Age) concept of social imaginary. He explains:

A social imaginary is the picture that frames our everyday beliefs and practices, in particular the “ways people imagine their social existence.” The social imaginary is the nest of background assumptions, often implicit, that lead people to feel things as right or wrong, correct or incorrect. It is another name for root metaphor (or root narrative) that shapes a person’s perception of the world, undergirds one’s worldview, and funds one’s plausibility structure. … Social imaginaries, then, are the metaphors and stories by which we live, the images and narratives that indirectly indoctrinate us. Yes, we have all been indoctrinated: filled with doctrine or teaching. The doctrines we hold, be they philosophical, political, or theological, feel right or wrong, plausible or implausible, based largely on how well they accord with the prevailing social imaginary or world picture. – p.8, 9

Timothy and Titus as Models

In  a previous post we looked at how Paul identified himself as a preacher, apostle, and teacher of the gospel in the Pastoral Epistles. I suggested that today’s missionary identifies with Paul as preacher and teacher of the apostolic gospel. We are not apostles but preach and teach the message of the apostles recorded in Scripture. Timothy and Titus likewise were not apostles but served as coworkers with Paul and in the Pastoral Epistles were delegates of Paul. So we share an affinity with Timothy and Titus as ministers under the authority of the apostles.

THE ROLE OF TIMOTHY AND TITUS

In writing about the role of Timothy and Titus, Andreas Köstenberger notes:

Timothy and Titus are often viewed as pastors of local congregations. However, as mentioned, their role is not actually that of permanent, resident pastor of a church. Rather, these men serve as Paul’s apostolic delegates who are temporarily assigned to their present location in order to deal with particular problems that have arisen in their respective churches and require special attention.

Andreas J. Köstenberger, 2017, Commentary on 1-2 Timothy and Titus, p 8

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What should we read to learn best practices in church planting?

The Mission Round Table, Volume 13 #2 (May-August 2018) was titled, “To Make the Word of God Fully Known”: The Bible in Mission and the World. In the editorial Walter McConnell wrote:

As in other matters, the Bible should be our final authority regarding mission and the church. Those of us who strive to be reflective practitioners of mission must make it our aim to base our thinking and work on God’s written Word as we present his living Word to the world so that all may have an opportunity to experience his blessings. To do this we must drench ourselves in God’s Word, saturating our thinking and practice with its message. Mission Round Table, vol.13, #2, p 3.

A Book Review: Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned way

Catechesis is an ancient form of disciple-making. Though the term may seem strange to many Evangelicals, it has deep roots in church history and the Bible. J.I. Packer has teamed up with Gary A. Parrett (a Professor of Christian Education at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) in writing about catechesis in Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, Baker Books, 2010. What is catechesis? Packer and Parrett define it as:

Catechesis is the church’s ministry of grounding and growing God’s people in the Gospel and its implications for doctrine, devotion, duty, and delight. (Packer and Parrett, p.28)

Fulfilling Marketplace Ministry

In my previous post I sketched out the significance of work from a Christian perspective:

  1. Work is part of God’s original design for humanity.
  2.  The Fall brought toil and frustration to work but did not diminish the significance of work.
  3.  Understanding work in the light of our primary and secondary calling enables us to engage in all types of work for the glory of God and the good of our neighbors.

Significance of Work

I’ve been asked to give some thoughts on the theology of marketplace ministry. Apparently, some are experiencing a level of frustration balancing marketplace work (whether in education or business) with ministry work. I will share my thoughts in two blog posts. In this first post, we will identify the significance of work for a Christian. In the second we explore the implications for marketplace ministry. I hope to stimulate your thinking in these areas and do not presume to write as an authority in these areas.

”In the beginning there was work.” So begins the first chapter of Tim Keller’s book, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God. He continues,

Book Review: Prepared by Grace, for Grace.

INTRODUCTION:

Prepared by Grace, for Grace: The Puritans on God’s Way of Leading Sinners to Christ by [Beeke, Joel R., Smalley, Paul M.]

Historical theology does not often get a place at the table in missiological discussions. Its neglect can leave us at the mercy of current thinking and trends. Reading theologians from other eras guards us against our blind spots. Other eras have their blind spots too but they are usually different than ours. Historical theology is a safeguard against cultural bias. The book that I was asked to review looks at the Puritans, whose works I have spent a lot of time reading.

Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley have written a book titled, Prepared by Grace, for Grace: The Puritans on God’s Ordinary Way of Leading Sinners to Christ (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2013). The volume deals with an issue central to missiology. The authors write in the introduction:

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