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  • Direction: Chameleon Christianity: Moving Beyond Safety and Conformity
    approaches 1 they have become saltless salt A distinctive Christian identity is lost and the believer has nothing to offer the world that the world does not already have Or 2 they have become a light hidden under a bushel basket and fallen prey to Christian tribalism In this error Christian distinctiveness is contained within a Christian ghetto or subculture It is into this morass that Keyes wades with Chameleon Christianity The grist for the book has surely been Keyes work over three decades with student oriented L Abri Fellowship in Switzerland England and Massachusetts A graduate of Harvard University and Westminster Theological Seminary Keyes areas of particular interest include apologetics the intersection between psychology and theology and Christianity and culture He has written several other books True Heroism 1995 and Beyond Identity 1984 1998 also primarily intended for the young adult reader intent on regaining a more biblically countercultural strategy of engagement Apologists Francis Schaeffer C S Lewis and G K Chesterton have evidently been Keyes mentors Compromise and tribalism are not new to the people of God Keyes briefly illustrates their existence in the biblical literature before providing a more thorough analysis of the present day church He concludes by 197 arguing that 1 the recovery of apologetics and 2 the recovery of the church as community will restore the church to Jesus salt and light objectives Regarding 1 apologetics Keyes asserts that it is not possible to engage people with the gospel until one has first understood their arguments and so he argues passionately for Christians to listen seriously and lovingly to peoples ideas beliefs objections gripes doubts and struggles The flip side of the issue is that Christians who do not understand the Scriptures will have nothing at all to say to unbelievers Regarding 2 the

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/29/2/chameleon-christianity-moving-beyond.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Old Testament Theology
    and churchman but is also a major player in the scholarly world both as an Old Testament OT scholar and in the complex field of biblical theology His book God s Design A Focus on Old Testament Theology is now in its third edition and he continues to publish in academic journals and collections of scholarly essays It is no vanity on Martens part then that the present volume lists his own name eight times in the index The quality of this volume suggests good things for the rest of the IBR series An excellent introduction to and overview of the field of OT 198 theology may be accomplished by reading Martens pithy paragraphs of orientation sprinkled beneath the book s chapter headings and elsewhere It is clear that he is well versed in the discipline of OT theology The table of contents lays out the structure of the work There are nine major categories Reference Works Serial Literature History of the Discipline State of the Discipline Issues in the Discipline Perspectives on Old Testament Theology Old Testament Theologies Theologies of Corpora sections of the OT canon Theologies Book by Book and Monographs on Selected Biblical Themes Within each category and a total of fifty five subcategories the works are organized by date Because of the numerous subcategories there is inevitable overlap so that a few works or essays within collections are listed more than once There is also an author index From articles to collections of essays to one volume theologies and theological reference sets over five hundred works are listed with a few extras tucked inside those which are numbered Each entry is helpfully annotated some with cross references to other works Several annotations point the reader to additional bibliographies Consistent with series guidelines Martens goes lightly on

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/29/2/old-testament-theology.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: God's Power, Jesus' Faith, and World Mission: A Study in Romans
    Romans which predominates in Evangelical circles and has its roots in the life and teaching of Martin Luther In the traditional paradigm for example God declares sinners to be justified without respect to any changed behavior But in the alternative paradigm which is growing in influence the righteousness of God concerns God s power to right wrong in the world include the marginalized and create a people who appropriate God s grace for a life of obedient faith In the traditional paradigm the theme of Romans is the salvation of the individual and the center of focus is Paul s response to Jewish critics particularly about the Law It asks the question What must I do to be saved and answers that salvation is by grace alone without works of law The alternative paradigm is not entirely at odds with the traditional However the theme is understood to be the salvation of the world and the center of focus is Paul s concern for the salvation of Gentiles It asks How will God save both Jews and Gentiles and the answer is the righteousness of God revealed through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ salvation always was by grace not by works Mosher presents important minority readings like the faith fulness of Jesus in Romans 3 22 that are supported by good scholarship Throughout he rightly emphasizes the obedience or faithfulness of Jesus Along the way Mosher takes a stand against materialism civil religion mere intellectual faith the New Age and Gaia religions megachurches and much of Western missionary practice He emphasizes the church as community the suffering that comes with following Jesus God s concern for the poor and ostracized and the importance of the Old Testament He sprinkles Anabaptist stories among his tales is hard on Mormons and Billy

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/29/2/gods-power-jesus-faith-and-world-mission.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places
    beyond necessity beyond mere survival In other words when it is lived playfully and with freedom and exuberance For Peterson this kind of living is true spirituality He protests vigorously the theology which is merely passing on impersonal information about God a trend which has assumed preference in the church He states We typically gather impersonal information about God whether doctrinal or philosophical or historical in order to take things into our own hands and take charge of how we will live our lives The point of his first lecture addressed to future church workers and students is that the best way to get back in touch with our souls our God personal lives is through story Stories invite the listener to live 201 into the story We need to see our stories in God s story In his second lecture he speaks about creation spirituality Some God searchers separate the material the physical from the spiritual in a modern gnosticism This is a spirituality that prefers beautiful beaches and fine sunsets surfing and skiing and body massage emotional states and aesthetic titillation But it lacks the person of Christ at its center How to keep God at the center of life His answer is straightforward He suggests returning to the commandment to honor God on the Sabbath He criticizes pastors and congregational leaders who cram the Lord s day with work committee meetings and projects mission and social activities Peterson recommends clearing the clutter from the Lord s day and returning to silence and stillness Without these disciplines there is no spirituality In his third lecture he sets forth the idea that the Christ who plays in ten thousand places plunges into our history the mess that is our life to give us power to clean it up He

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/29/2/christ-plays-in-ten-thousand-places.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Mennonite and Nazi? Attitudes Among Mennonite Colonists in Latin America, 1933-1945
    history of the two main Mennonite ethnic traditions but expands mainly on the Dutch Prussian Russian sector to prepare for the main theme In chapter one a brief overview of the events leading to the Nazi period in Germany is presented including an attempt to define German citizenship German culture and ethnicity and how they relate in the context of Hitler s obscene pontification The implications of this for the Volksdeutsche in areas outside of Germany especially in Russia offer important insights for later Mennonite life in Latin America Chapters two and three describe the migrations of Mennonites to Mexico and Brazil which though informative are not as relevant to the Nazi theme in Paraguay The basic discussion begins in chapter four the period between 1930 and 1936 in which the social scene is described especially among the youth Thiesen includes particularly the roles Fritz Kliewer and B H Unruh performed in the emergence of a German sponsored Jugendbund 90 In chapter five the author discusses the economic and organizational conditions that laid the groundwork for the confrontation between Nazism and the historic peace position of the Mennonites Then in chapter six entitled Renewed Determination 1936 1943 Thiesen analyzes the central issue that was coming to a head among the Mennonites were they Volkstum or Christentum 129 According to Siemens editor of Mennoblatt Fernheim s illness now was politics 130 A very complex polarization developed including that among religious leaders congregations colony officials younger professionals some of whom agitated for a return to Germany and business entrepreneurs Chapter seven Paraguay 1943 1944 The End of the Voelkish Movement describes the confrontations peaking on the March 11 203 1944 fracas which involved physical beatings and threats with pistols and shotguns Legiehn the Oberschulze and Fritz Kliewer the German educated Ph D

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/29/2/mennonite-and-nazi-attitudes-among.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: From the Editor: Science and Faith
    transitional time in which the question of how we discern the real is asked with renewed earnestness When I think of the interplay of science and faith these words from writer Madeleine L Engle 88 89 come to mind When I try to find contemporary twentieth century mystics to help me in my own search for meditation and contemplation I turn to the cellular biologists and astrophysicists for they are dealing with the nature of being itself and their questions are theological ones What is the nature of time of creation of life What is human creativity What is our share in God s work L Engle urges that we recover childlike creativity not setting aside or discarding our intellects but neither allowing them to become a dictator She quotes Friedrich Dessauer an atomic physicist 75 Man is a creature who depends entirely on revelation In all his intellectual endeavor he should always listen always 3 be intent to hear and see He should not strive to superimpose the structures of his own mind his systems of thought upon reality At the beginning of all spiritual endeavor stands humility and he who loses it can achieve no other heights than the heights of disillusionment It is in this spirit that the essays in this issue are offered particularly in hope that those in whatever disciplines who search for wisdom and insight as for hidden treasure might benefit one another Prov 2 1 6 Del Ratzsch describes how two groups of Christians who take opposite sides on the creation question often talk past each other because more homework is needed Conrad Hyers presents his case that biblical and scientific maps of origins are distinct and should not be confused In a further treatment of the origins question Hugh Siefken helpfully introduces

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/29/1/editorial.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Speaking, in Love, the Truth About Creation
    homework 6 and perhaps some worldview warfare homework as well Creationism Some Homework Among creationists there are a number of genuine scientists who understand evolutionary theory who have done actual scientific work and who do understand how science functions 7 Unfortunately the creationists who are most visible in the secular media in church sponsored creation evolution workshops and on Christian television are often popularizers who lack all of those qualifications 8 One result has been that much of the conservative Christian community has been seriously misled concerning what Darwinian evolutionary theory actually says what the relevant scientific evidence is what that evidence does or does not show about evolution and concerning what science is and how it works Following are two brief examples one involving philosophy of science the other involving the content of Darwinian theory Philosophy of Science Quite a number of popular creationists take their philosophy of science from the Oxford dictionary 9 A branch of study which is concerned either with a connected body of demonstrated truths or with observed facts systematically classified and more or less colligated by being brought under general laws and which includes trustworthy methods for the discovery of new truth within its own domain 9 That definition misses few opportunities to embrace long refuted positions Science of course does not demonstrate truths in any strict sense of the term Worse yet if one began with observed facts then systematically classified them evidently by some Baconian means by bringing them under general laws one would never get beyond empirical generalizations to theoretical understanding of those data at all There simply is no logic of discovery There are no automatic trustworthy methods for discovering new truths especially for getting from the empirical level to the theoretical If there were the creativity of scientists would not be nearly as crucial to science as it is This conception of science has essentially all the difficulties of the Baconianism which it evidently reflects Beyond that popular creationist pictures of science typically include mistakes concerning the natures of and relationships between theories and data the nature of and scope of testability and falsifiability the status and effects of anomalous observations the implications of the existence of alternative theoretical interpretations the nature and role of the concepts of observability and reproducibility and so on 10 Darwinian Content Creationist popularizers very frequently have an inadequate grasp of current evolutionary theory For instance a number confuse Darwinian evolution with earlier theories of evolution especially that of Lamarck who died thirty years before Darwin s publication of the Origin of Species Failure to distinguish Darwin from Lamarck is quite common among creationist popularizers despite the facts that the differences are not just in superficial detail but are fundamental and that Darwin himself explicitly rejected the structure basis underlying principles and mechanism of Lamarckian evolution referring to some parts of it as just nonsense Many popular creationist criticisms might very well point to real difficulties in Lamarck s theories But the problem is that Lamarck s theories have been rejected by the scientific community for two thirds of a century and that given the deep differences between Darwinian and Lamarckian evolution criticisms relevant to Lamarckian theories often have no bearing at all on Darwinian theories The creationists in question have not done sufficient work even to discover that they are often attacking a theory which no one actually holds that few have 10 held for generations and that the attacks miss the real theory entirely 11 Unfortunately such confusions have had consequences Creationist popularizers are often accepted as authorities by thousands of Christians sometimes by influential hosts of religious television programs Thus many well meaning lay Christians and ministers have been substantially misled as to what evolutionary and other theories actually say and misled as to the alleged trivial ease with which evolution can be refuted Beyond that such visible mistakes by some creationists have tarred the whole movement and have thus made it more difficult for other creationists who are attempting to construct legitimate real science from a creationist perspective to get serious consideration Upshot For both sides failure to do the homework generates real risks first the risk of speaking something other than the truth and second the risk of getting caught flatfooted in a variety of embarrassing errors And the louder you have trumpeted those errors and the larger they turn out to be and the more obvious it becomes that you have not done your homework the more embarrassing it can be And rest assured that if one is speaking to a competent practitioner from the opposite side those errors will be instantly spotted The fact that you have your foot stuffed firmly in your mouth will be duly pointed out to you and to everyone else as well And that is not where our feet are supposed to be We are supposed to know the truth and to firmly stand with both feet on the ground stabilizing us against the winds that try to blow us around LOVE Sometimes even when both sides have done their homework disagreement persists What then Having done your homework being responsibly convinced that you are right the temptation is to take aim at your disagreeing brother or sister and blow em away with the truth of course But if we have not sawed off our entire rabbit then we are still one body you may be hands someone else eyes your opponent may be a foot They the foot are part of the same body you are part of And that means that blazing away at one s fellow believer may be in effect shooting one s self in one s own foot We are to love others as ourselves and since we are one body our usual reluctance to open fire on our own foot thus has consequences for our proposed firing at fellow believers Since we are reluctant to shoot ourselves in the foot we should not shoot them either

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/29/1/speaking-in-love-truth-about-creation.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Comparing Biblical and Scientific Maps of Origins
    chaos maintain order and place themselves in harmony with the forces of cosmos Thus after an introductory affirmation In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth the account commences by identifying the forces of chaos that must be controlled The earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters Gen 1 2 RSV passim Three forces of chaos are thus presented formless earth darkness and the primeval sea These are three common threats to an orderly environment and the first three days of creation solve these threats by the creation of counter forces On the first day light is created on the second day a firmament is placed in the sky to separate the waters into those above and below and on the third day the waters below are separated into their proper bounds so that dry land might appear The three forces of chaos are not destroyed but given their boundaries and turned to positive functions in a new orderly cosmos In the second set of three days creations are made and brought in to populate the established regions of the first three days On the fourth day the sun moon and stars are created to dwell in the spaces of light and darkness On the fifth day the birds and fish are created to inhabit the sky above and waters below made possible by the firmament of day two And on the sixth day land animals and humans are created to dwell on the dry land which came into being on the third day along with vegetation for food 21 We are thus presented with three sets of three three forces of chaos are brought under control and placed in an orderly cosmos by the creations of the first three days making possible the introduction of the inhabitants of the second three days Now this is not the way in which modern scientific accounts of origins get organized But that does not mean that one mapping of the cosmos is right and another wrong unless it can be demonstrated that both approaches to origins are mapping for the same things To follow the lead of Calvin again when Genesis discusses the separating of the waters by the firmament into the waters above rain snow hail and the waters below lakes rivers oceans or speaks of a gathering of the waters below to allow dry land to appear astronomical or geological terms are not being used but rather popular expressions that draw upon common observations of and speech about nature Similarly the phrase each according to its own kind which refers to the observable hereditary distinctions among plants and animals is not the language of geneticists discussing the fixity of species but reflects everyday phenomenal observations of an orderly cosmos INTERPRETATION BY ANALOGY We find further clues as to the character of the biblical cosmogony by observing the various kinds of analogy being used to interpret origins In addition to the overall structure derived from the analogy of a divine work week and sabbath rest we find three main analogies being employed creator ruler and architect The first is the most obvious The account begins and ends with the image of God as creator of the heavens and the earth God is specifically referred to as making the various creations of days four through six sun moon and stars birds and fish land animals and humans The second analogy God the ruler is apparent in two ways Throughout the account God is pictured as a divine emperor issuing decrees And God said Let there be light Let there be a firmament Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together Let the earth put forth vegetation Let there be lights in the firmament Let the waters bring forth Let the earth bring forth Let us make man All things come into being by the authority and power and command of the divine Word and they are controlled and guided by divine laws giving order and rationality to the cosmos The theme of ruling is also prominent in that the sun and moon are said to be created to rule the day and night while humans are given the royal attributes of having dominion over all living things and of 22 subduing the earth Such analogies are obviously drawn from the common sociopolitical order of the day Emperors ruled over and in part by means of lesser kings or governors which had been conquered or appointed Using this analogy God is the supreme ruler and force in the universe as king of kings and lord of lords with the sun and moon as subordinate rulers of the regions of light and darkness and human beings given dominion over the animals and the task of subduing the earth The third analogy being used is that of divine architect The universe has a fundamental structure organization and design It is not merely accidental collocations of atoms as Bertrand Russell put it Nor is it fundamentally irrational and chaotic Even the wild and negative forces are turned to useful purposes as darkness water and formless earth are shaped separated and limited The use of an architectural analogy sheds further light on some of the to modern readers peculiarities in the ordering of events We might feel comfortable with the first day of creation commencing with Let there be light since that may seem to resemble our big bang theories of origin Yet before there is light v 3 already present is a formless earth engulfed in darkness and a watery abyss v 2 If one were going to treat these materials as in any way comparable to modern scientific theories of origin one would not have a big bang theory but a big splash theory There is also the problem that while light comes into existence on the first day the sun

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/29/1/comparing-biblical-and-scientific-maps.html (2016-02-16)
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