STR 2.2 (Winter 2011)

This issue is devoted to mission, discipleship, and hermeneutics.

This issue is devoted to mission, discipleship, and hermeneutics.

Abstract: An introduction to the current volume.

Abstract: STR had the privilege of talking with Dr. Michael Goheen on the publication of his monograph on the missional church and the biblical story entitled: A Light to the Nations: The Missional Church and the Biblical Story (Baker Academic). He is the Geneva Professor of Worldview and Religious Studies at Trinity Western University (USA), Teaching Fellow in Mission and World Christianity at Regent College (Canada), Fellow in Mission and Worldview Studies at The Paideia Centre for Public Theology (Canada). Despite these significant academic achievements, Mike cannot be accused of living in an ivory tower apart from the gritty realities of the church on the ground! He has served in ministry throughout his life and presently is a minister of preaching at New Westminster Christian Reformed Church in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Abstract: This essay is a critical review of Michael Goheen’s A Light to the Nations: The Missional Church and the Biblical Story (Baker Academic). It provides a broad context in which this major monograph can be understood and evaluated, a summary of the contents of the book, and a critical evaluation of strengths and drawbacks of the volume. A Light to the Nations is a powerful missional ecclesiology, which serves a number of purposes. First, it is an illuminating companion text in a systematic theology course. While many systematic ecclesiology texts focus on the tasks of the church, this book focuses on the missional nature of the church. Second, it serves well as a text in a course on Christian mission. While many mission texts focus exclusively on international missions, or on pragmatics, or on the social sciences, this text provides a unified and coherent biblical theology to undergird the church on her mission. The most practical thing in the world (for a mission class) is a biblical theology of mission that provides the starting point, the trajectory, and the parameters for the tasks of mission. Third, the book stands on its own feet as a contribution to the field of biblical theology, furthering the author’s contributions in previous books such as The Drama of Scripture. Finally, the book makes a stimulating discussion piece for pastors, elders, and thoughtful laypeople who are thinking through the church’s missional calling.

Abstract: This essay explores the Pauline concept of the “collection” in regards to the poor in the apostle’s writings, and relates it to modern practice in the life of the church, the gospel, and Christian mission. As such, it is shown that the collection for the poor cannot be pitted against gospel preaching or Christian mission in Pauline teaching. Rather, Paul the apostle desires the church to assist the poor in such a way that the unity of the church is powerfully expressed. Contemporary believers must not neglect what can be learned from this advocate for Christian mission to the poor. Thanks to the collection, we know more about Paul’s efforts for the poor than those of any other early Christian, including those who offer comparatively fuller theologies on the poor and Christian social concern (such as James and Luke). Paul does not present an abstract theology of social concern, but dramatizes the gospel through his work for the poor. In the collection we see the whole of Paul’s theology in action, and we learn that Christian mission to the poor was neither optional nor secondary for the apostle and his churches.

Abstract: This paper will argue that meaning is one important focus of attention in biblical interpretation, but only when understood in an appropriately low-key and localized way. For some this thesis may sound obvious in any case, but for those aware of various recent debates in biblical interpretation it is no longer a straightforward claim to make. The path to this thesis must therefore take some time to review what has been at stake in such debates, before building to the constructive point at issue, which will utilize some aspects of the work of J.L. Austin, best known for his theory of speech acts, to explore “how to do things with meaning in biblical interpretation.”

Abstract: This paper explores how Isaiah 6 fits within its literary context in the book of Isaiah. The present position of Isaiah 6 had significance for meaning, as will be argued here. The weakness of traditional literary critics consists principally in failure to deal adequately with the present form of the text. In fact, the possibility that the book’s present canonical shape could exhibit a coherent message should be considered from the beginning, before dissection into what are ultimately theoretical sources. As will be seen here, what appears at first glance to be a misplaced or chaotic juxtaposition of texts turns out to be part of a purposeful, cohesive, and coherent composition with major consequences for interpretation. Furthermore, the New Testament’s reading of Isa 6 will also be examined and found to be remarkably consistent with the literary context.

The volume concludes with a series of book reviews.