Along with the book came a note: 'Looks like you might find this a blessing and also be able to write a recommendation for Headline'. There is no 'might' about it! The book has been deeply challenging and disturbing to what the author calls 'the narrow confines of your comfort zones'. I am profoundly grateful that it was placed in my hands, and just at the right time to minister to my own deep needs.
This is a short, readable theological book. Some may say; 'What- theology readable? Never!' They seem to think that theology by definition is confusing and hard going. It all depends on what definition you have of theology. I was reading another book at the same time and saw this definition; Theology is 'people of faith using their minds to understand who God is and how He works.' Eugene Petersen. Answering God page 13.
Richard Keyes is now the leader of the L'Abri community near Boston, USA and has written this oddly-titled book to explore two tendencies amongst Christ-ians today. These are the Chameleon tendency, or acquiescence with worldly standards and the Tribal tendency, or withdrawal from the world at large for fear of spiritual contamination.
When an Australian (Rob Evans)and a New Zealander (Roy McKenzie) get together to write a book you can be sure something good will result. This is no exception. A concluding paragraph states:-
“We pray that this desire will be intense, and heart-felt, enough to cause us all to cry to God, until His answer comes,---- Is this country dry enough for God’s flood waters of the Spirit? Are you ready to be part of God’s answer to this need?”
Outside my study window in Nigeria was the grave of Mary Hanney, the wife of one of the early pioneers of the work in Eastern Nigeria. The 'White Man's Grave' in those early days certainly lived up to its name - but still missionaries came. On the Missionary Trail is the story of the London Missionary Society, and tells its story from its pioneer days.
This simple and very helpful introduction on how to share our faith with people of other faiths, especially those with an Asian background, assumes that relational evangelism is the way forward and presents the case for this approach convincingly. We may well find that witnessing to those who have strong religious beliefs already is easier than trying to talk to pagan westerners. This should encourage us to take the initiative.
'Today is the day we live in and today is the day we need to hear the voice of God' writes Elaine Storkey, whom you can hear regularly on Radio 4 and at Spring Harvest. She is talking about a series of books that has helped the Bible speak into our contemporary world for the last thirty years or so. The Bible Speaks Today series covers all the books in the New Testament and a good number of the Old Testament.
In the words of the author, 'this book is an attempt to re-express biblical holiness for a new generation' (p.18). I believe it is very successful. It is in no sense a detached academic dissertation on the subject - the chapters started life as sermons preached in the author's Liverpool church. The language is modern and he maintains a light touch, yet the book is shot through with conviction and, considering this is modern preaching, a wonderful sense of urgency and passion. The author is intent on informing and persuading his readers, and I feel he succeeds.
Let's begin by thinking of some of the ways in which the word 'church' is used today. Try to make up a few sentences using the word 'church'. Then ask yourselves what the word meant in each sentence. You may find it helpful to write the sentences down so that you don't forget them.
Do this exercise now, before going any further with these notes!
Many Christians have difficulty in speaking about the Holy Spirit. The Bible gives us a picture of God as Father and Jesus as Son, but the images which the Bible gives for the Holy Spirit are difficult to imagine.
Spend a moment sharing together some of the ways in which the Bible describes the Holy Spirit.