Category Archives: Missiology

The Trinity Among the Nations: The Doctrine of God in the Majority World

Theology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries has been marked by t51utithkxzlwo trends. The first is a revival of Trinitarian theology. This trend has attempted to place the Trinity at the center of theology and church life. The second is a turn towards the majority world. It has been well documented that in the 20th century the church experienced explosive growth in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, whereas the “Western church” has dwindled. From this growth in the majority world church we are beginning to witness a shift in how theology on the global stage is being done. In The Trinity Among the Nations: The Doctrine of God in the Majority World, editors Gene L. Green, Stephen T. Pardue, and K. K. Yeo bring these two trends together to produce a volume that “brings the global church to theological dialogue regarding kaleidoscopic understandings of the Trinity” (p. 2).

You can read the rest of my review in the latest issue of Themelios (41.2).

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Crossing Cultures With Jesus

I think if found it!

In just a few short days I will be leading a group of 20 college students on a short term mission trip to Uganda. For many of the students this is their first mission trip, and for a whole bunch of them it’s the first time they will ever step off American soil. Going on a mission trip can be quite difficult, especially if its your first time… new food, new sights, new sounds, oh and yeah sharing the gospel cross-culturally!

But… I think I found a book that will help those students go through a cross-cultural experience like a mission trip. Its Katie Rawson’s Crossing Cultures with Jesus: Sharing Good News with Sensitivity and Grace.

This book is written by a campus minister who has worked with international students for over three decades! So she is really used to sharing the gospel cross-culturally. In it she shows the reader how to enter into people’s worlds and draw them towards Jesus. The book is filled with encouraging stories, and tons of practical advice. Some of the most helpful parts of her book are the sidebars which she includes. These sidebars cover subjects like: presenting the gospel in an honor-shame culture, listening to God, doing a lectio divinia, characteristics of a welcoming community, hospitality, etc.

The book is split up into two parts. Part one is about developing our own relationship with the Lord and entering into relationship with those we are trying to reach. The second part covers evangelism with cross-cultural sensitivity.

Overall I have to say that…

Crossing Cultures With Jesus is my new go-to book for preparing a short-term mission team.


Even though we had completed all of our training before we are getting ready to leave in a few days, I was so confident in this book that I sent out an email to our whole team saying – if you bring one book on the plane to read bring Crossing Cultures with Jesus.

Its that good!

Note: I received this book from IVP in exchange for an impartial review.

The Story That Chooses Us (Themelios)

The new issue of Themelios is now out – you can download it for free as a pdf or (for a short time) free for Logos. In this issue you will find a lot of engagement with Adam, the Fall, and Original Sin. You will also find reviews of some interesting books like Thomas F. Torrance and the Church Fathers: A Reformed, Evangelical and Ecumenical Reconstruction of the Patristic Tradition and Advancing Trinitarian Theology: Explorations in Constructive Dogmatics and of course my review of George Hunsberger’s The Story that Chooses Us: A Tapestry of Missional Vision.

Here is an excerpt but you can read the rest on the Themelios website:

“The Chinese character for crisis, we are told, is a combination of the characters for ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’” (p. 118). Many missiologists would agree that the church is currently presented with both. It will have to decide how it will face those dangers and opportunities. Over the last several decades missiologist George The Story that Chooses UsHunsberger has written many essays in order to help the church face this crisis of missional identity and practice. The Story that Chooses Us collects some of these. Covering topics like calling, community, and formation, these essays contain a number of reoccurring themes that weave cohesively into what Hunsberger calls “a tapestry of missional-ecclesial vision” (p. ix). The overall scope of this project is wide and the topics addressed are diverse, yet these reoccurring themes bring a sense of cohesion. Instead of addressing individual chapters in this review, I will cover some of these themes (the current crisis of the church, the current shape of the church, the identity of the church, the mission of the church) and offer some critical thoughts about this collection of essays…..

Jonah & The Vine

I have spent the last few weeks studying the book of Jonah for our series at Soma, Chasing Rebels…

Chasing_Rebels_FB

The first week we kicked things off with the notion that God pursues rebels like you and me. Today I want to jump forward to the end of the book – after Jonah has complained about God’s compassion and mercy towards the Ninevites God gives him an object lesson. Basically God causes a vine to supernaturally sprout up and give Jonah shade, the next day God causes a worm to eat up the vine and a hot eastern wind to scorch it. And boy is Jonah pissed! His anger burns and he exclaims that he is angry enough to die because of this vine (its sort of an expletive in Hebrew). The lesson worked – it got the reaction from Jonah that God wanted all along. Here is how commentator Leslie Allen paraphrases that conversation in NICOT. (God is the one talking here:)

Let us analyze this anger of yours – it represents your concern over your beloved vine… but what did it really mean to you? Your attachment could not be very deep, for it was here one day and gone the next. Your concern was dictated by self interest, not by genuine love. You never had for it the devotion of a gardener. If you feel as badly as you do, what would you expect a gardener to feel like, who tended the plant and watched it grow only to see it wither and die, poor thing? And this is how I feel about Nineveh, only much more so. All those people, those animals, I made the, I have cherished them all these years. Nineveh has cost me no end of effort. They mean the world to mean. Your pain is nothing to mine when in contemplate their destruction.

God’s compassion extends to rebels like the Ninevites and surely it extends to us. Its our responsibility to extend it to others who don’t know God.

Undaunted for the Sake of the Gospel!

This February 27th – Piper, Platt, DeYoung, and Anyabwile will be putting on a conference about reaching the unreached people groups for the gospel. Its bound to be good! The best part is that its free to simulcast!

Is Satan winning? Between the growing hostility to Christianity in America and the troubling reality of unbelief among thousands of unreached people groups abroad, it’s easy to feel as if the gospel is losing ground to the powers of sin and hell. And yet Jesus, in Matthew 28:18, said, “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” For that reason, God’s people, despite discouraging circumstances and the very real prospect of suffering, have the greatest reason for confidence and even joy. We serve an omnipotent God whose gospel kingdom is indomitable.

You can be sure that I will be simulcasting this event!

<register here: http://live.crossforthenations.org/ >

Get Your Story Straight!

We’ve all been in situations where somebody was obviously lying to you, and they couldn’t keep their story straight. Their sequence of events are all off, they can’t remember who was there, they can’t remember any details, etc. At that point you just want to look the person square in the eyes – and say to them “C’mon dude – get you story straight!”

Scot McKnight, author of Kingdom Conspiracy
Scot McKnight, author of Kingdom Conspiracy

Well when it comes to telling the story of the gospel – getting your story straight is just as important. Nothing less will do. Scot McKnight says that getting our story straight – our Gospel story – is incredibly important for how we do mission. Here is what he says in his own words:

Until we get the fullness of this story on the table, the kingdom mission will be sold short. When we do, we learn that mission is not the first word, but Christ is; we gain a new understanding of evangelism; we discover that genuine kingdom mission is cruciform, shaped by and towards the cross; and we also are reformed into the hope of the kingdom. All these flow directly from seeing the first word as Jesus. (Kingdom Conspiracy, 135)

When Jesus is the beginning, center, and end of our story mission falls into place. Or as McKnight says:

Kingdom Mission begins, and ends with Jesus, the cruciform King.