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Finding Faith after Certainty
God is not an idea. Christian faith is not a set of propositions you either believe or reject. According to a proper Trinitarian understanding, God is essentially relationship, a relationship of sheer, active, ecstatic, self-giving love. If we truly are encountered by this magnificent love of the Trinity, then faith becomes a living and active daily practice. Just like a healthy marriage or a close and loyal friendship, it becomes something you choose every day.
This “51% Christian” moniker is a ridiculous label with a deadly serious point. You now have permission to doubt, to question, to get angry at God. But, in the end, it’s not about you. Faith is about relationship: a living, daily relationship, based on trust, and active in concrete, daily practices.
With this sort of freedom in grace, Stenberg takes a fresh new look at theology, thirteen topics that, one by one, examine the best of what the Bible and the history of Christian practitioners have to say. Looking through this grace-based, radically relational lens, the author offers a lively and engaging discussion of topics such as creation, violence, love, death, heaven, and hell. You might not always agree. But you will not be bored.
Throughout its first three centuries of existence, the Christian community, while new to the Roman world’s pluralistic religious scene, portrayed itself as an historic religion. The early church community claimed the Jewish Bible as their own and looked to it to defend their claims to historicity. While Jews looked to Moses and the Sinai covenant as the focus of their historical relationship with God, the early church fathers and apologists identified themselves as inheritors of the promise given to Abraham and saw their mission to the Gentiles as the fulfillment of God’s declaration that Abraham would be “a father of many nations” (Gen 17:5).M
It is in light of this background that Demetrios Tonias undertakes the first, comprehensive examination of John Chrysostom’s view of the patriarch Abraham.
By analyzing the full range of references to Abraham in Chrysostom’s work, Tonias reveals the ways in which Chrysostom used Abraham as a model of philosophical and Christian virtue, familial devotion, philanthropy, and obedient faith.
Written in 1929-1930 a Dietrich Bonhoeffer's second dissertation, this book deals with the questions of consciousness and conscience in theology from the perspective of the Reformation insight about the origin of human sinfulness in the "heart turned in upon neither to the revelation of God nor to the encounter with the neighbor."
The Stranger Within
ëWhat makes African Christianity Christian?í, ëwhat is the mission of the African church?í, ëWhat is the theology of the African church?í and, ëWhat is the future of the Church in Africa or more precisely of African Christianity?í Professor Galgalo gives a critical analysis of Christianity in Africa from historical, theological and sociological perspectives.
Theology, Philosophy, and the Question of Life After Death
In After We Die, philosopher Stephen T. Davis subjects one of Christianity’s key beliefs—that Christians not only will survive death but also will enjoy bodily resurrection—to searching philosophical analysis. Facing each critique squarely, Davis contends that traditional, historic belief about the eschatological future is philosophically defensible. Davis examines personal extinction, reincarnation, and immortality of the soul. By juxtaposing two systems of salvation—reincarnation/karma and resurrection/grace—Davis explores the Christian claim that humans will be raised from the dead, as well as the radical Christian assertions of Jesus’ resurrection, ascension, and long-anticipated return. Davis finally addresses Christian thinking about heaven, hell, and purgatory. The philosophical defense of Christianity’s core beliefs enables Davis to render a reasonable answer to the eternal question of what happens to us after we die. After We Die is essential reading for teachers and students of philosophy, theology, and Bible, as well as anyone interested in a reasoned analysis of historic Christian faith, particularly as it pertains to the inevitable end of each and every human being.
In Against Julian Augustine stresses in the first two books the traditional teachings of the Church found in the Fathers and contrasts their teaching with the rationalism of the Pelagians
John Wesley and the Foundations of Christian Belief
In his day, John Wesley offered important insights on how to obtain knowledge of God that readily bears fruit in our own times. As premiere Wesleyan scholar William Abraham shows, Wesley's most famous spiritual experience is rife with philosophical significance and implications. Throughout, Abraham brings Wesley's works into fruitful conversation with some of the most important work in contemporary epistemology. Lyrically and succinctly he explores the simultaneous epistemological quest and spiritual pilgrimage that were central to Wesley and the Evangelical Revival of the eighteenth century. In so doing, he provides a learned and eye-opening meditation upon the relationship between reason and faith.
Charity, Reward, and Atonement in Early Christianity
Christianity has often understood the death of Jesus on the cross as the sole means for forgiveness of sin. Despite this tradition, David Downs traces the early and sustained presence of yet another means by which Christians imagined atonement for sin: merciful care for the poor. In Alms: Charity, Reward, and Atonement in Early Christianity, Downs begins by considering the economic context of almsgiving in the Greco-Roman world, a context in which the overwhelming reality of poverty cultivated the formation of relationships of reciprocity and solidarity. Downs then provides detailed examinations of almsgiving and the rewards associated with it in the Old Testament, Second Temple Judaism, and the New Testament. He then attends to early Christian texts and authors in which a theology of atoning almsgiving is developed—2 Clement, the Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas, Polycarp, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Cyprian. In this historical and theological reconstruction, Downs outlines the emergence of a model for the atonement of sin in Christian literature of the first three centuries of the Common Era, namely, atoning almsgiving, or the notion that providing material assistance to the needy cleanses or covers sin. Downs shows that early Christian advocacy of almsgiving’s atoning power is located in an ancient economic context in which fiscal and social relationships were deeply interconnected. Within this context, the concept of atoning almsgiving developed in large part as a result of nascent Christian engagement with scriptural traditions that present care for the poor as having the potential to secure future reward, including heavenly merit and even the cleansing of sin, for those who practice mercy. Downs thus reveals how sin and its solution were socially and ecclesiologically embodied, a vision that frequently contrasted with disregard for the social body, and the bodies of the poor, in Docetic and Gnostic Christianity. Alms, in the end, illuminates the challenge of reading Scripture with the early church, for numerous patristic witnesses held together the conviction that salvation and atonement for sin come through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and the affirmation that the practice of mercifully caring for the needy cleanses or covers sin. Perhaps the ancient Christian integration of charity, reward, and atonement has the potential to reshape contemporary Christian traditions in which those spheres are separated.