Bibliography for “Hope Rising: 1 Thessalonians for Today”

When I conclude a sermon series, I usually share resources I utilized in my study and preparation for sermons. Here is the bibliography for our recent series, “Hope Rising: 1 Thessalonians for Today.”

Bibliography for “Hope Rising”

John Calvin. The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Romans and to the Thessalonians. Trans. Ross Mackenzie. Ed. David W. and Thomas F. Torrance. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1961.

J. M. Everts. “Hope.” In Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, edited by Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid, 415-417. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993.

Cain Hope Felder. “1 Thessalonians.” In True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary, edited by Brian K. Blount, 389-400. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2007.

Peter J. Gorday, editor. Colossians, First and Second Thessalonians, First and Second Timothy, Titus, Philemon.ACCS. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2000.

L. J. Kreitzer. “Eschatology.” In Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, edited by Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Marting, and Daniel G. Reid, 253-269. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993.

Jürgen Moltmann. Theology of hope: on the ground and the implications of a Christian eschatology. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1993.

Josef Pieper. Faith, Hope, Love. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius, 1986.

J. W. Simpson, Jr. “Thessalonians, Letters to the.” In Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, edited by Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid, 932-939. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993.

Jeffrey A. D. Weima. 1-2 Thessalonians. ECNT. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014.

N. T. Wright. Surprised by Hope. New York: HarperCollins, 2008.

A Prayer of Trust by Thomas Merton

A friend shared with me this prayer by Thomas Merton from his book Thoughts in Solitude. It caught my attention and I hope it is meaningful to you as well.

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

By Thomas Merton from Thoughts in Solitude (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1958).

The Christian faith is a missionary faith: David Bosch on mission and missions

David-Bosch-middle-Michael-Cassidy-and-Desmond-Tutu-NIR-press-conference-1985-changed.jpg
David Bosch (center) with Desmond Tutu (right) and Michael Cassidy (left)

Here is South African missiologist David Bosch on the nature of the church and mission from his milestone work Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission.

The Christian faith, I submit, is intrinsically missionary….This dimension of the Christian faith is not an optional extra: Christianity is missionary by its very nature, or it denies its very raison d’être.

Christian mission gives expression to the dynamic relationship between God and the world, particularly as this was portrayed, first, in the story of the covenant people of Israel and then, supremely, in the birth, life, death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus of Nazareth.

The entire Christian existence is to be characterized as missionary existence….The church begins to be missionary  not through its universal proclamation of the gospel, but through the universality of the gospel it proclaims.

Theologically speaking, “foreign missions” is not a separate entity. The missionary nature of the church does not just depend on the situation in which it finds itself at a given moment but is grounded in the gospel itself. The justification and foundation for foreign missions, as for home missions, ‘lies in the universality of salvation and the indivisibility of the reign of Christ.’ The difference between home and foreign missions is not one of principle but of scope.

We have to distinguish between mission (singular) and missions (plural). The first refers primarily to the missio Dei (God’s mission), that is, God’s self-revelation as the One who loves the world, God’s involvement in and with the world, the nature and activity of God, which embraces both the church and the world, and in which the church is privileged to participate. Missio Dei enunciates the good news that God is a God-for-people. Missions (the missiones ecclesiae: the missionary ventures of the church), refer to particular forms, related to specific times, places or needs, of participation in the missio Dei.

The church-in-mission…is not identical with God’s reign yet not unrelated to it either; it is ‘a foretaste of its coming, the sacrament of its anticipation in history.’ Living in the creative tension of, at all the same time, being called out of the world and sent into the world, it is challenged to be God’s experimental garden on earth, a fragment of the reign of God, having ‘the first fruits of the Spirit’ (Rom 8:23) as a pledge of what is to come (2 Cor 1:22).

[Excerpts from David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991), pages 8-11.]

Bibliography for “Living the Creed”

When I conclude a sermon series, I usually share resources I utilized in my study and preparation for sermons. Here is the bibliography for our recent series, “Living the Creed: Connecting Life and Faith in the Apostles’ Creed.”

Bibliography for “Living the Creed”

Augustine of Hippo. “On the Creed: A Sermon to the Catechumens.” Translated by C. L. Cornish. In Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 3, ed. Philip Schaff.

Hans Urs von Balthasar. Credo: Meditations on the Apostles’ Creed. Translated by David Kipp. New York: Crossroad, 1990.

Karl Barth. Dogmatics in Outline. New York: Harper & Row, 1959.

Matthew W. Bates. Salvation by Allegiance Alone. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2017. 

Donald Fairbairn. The Story of Creeds and Confessions: Tracing the Development of the Christian Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2019.

Austin Farrer. Lord I Believe: Suggestions for Turning the Creed into Prayer, 2nd ed. London: SPCK, 1962.

Justo L. González. The Apostles’ Creed for Today. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2007.

Luke Timothy Johnson. The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why It Matters. New York: Doubleday, 2004.

Timothy Keller. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. New York: Riverhead Books, 2008.

________. Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical. New York: Viking Books, 2016. 

J.N.D. Kelly. Early Christian Creeds, 3rd ed.  London: Routledge, 2014.

C. S. Lewis. Mere Christianity. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1952.

Martin Luther. The Large Catechism.

Alister McGrath. I Believe: Exploring the Apostles’ Creed. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996.

Ben Myers. The Apostles’ Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018.

J. I. Packer. Knowing God. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993. 

________. Growing in Christ. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007.

Wolfhart Pannenberg. The Apostles’ Creed: In Light of Today’s Questions. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1972.

Jaroslav Pelikan. Credo: Historical and Theological Guide to Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015. 

Rufinus. A Commentary on the Apostles’ Creed. ACW 20. Translated and annotated by J.N.D. Kelly. Ramsey, NJ: Paulist Press, 1978.

Helmut Thielicke. I Believe: The Christian’s Creed. Translated by John W. Doberstein and H. George Anderson. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1968.

Thomas Aquinas. The Sermon-Conferences of St. Thomas Aquinas on the Apostles’ Creed. Translated by Nicholas Ayo. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1998.

Liuwe H. Westra. The Apostles’ Creed: Origin, History, and Some Early Commentaries. Instrumenta patristica et medievalia 43. Turnhout: Brepols, 2002. 

Learning the Dance of Forgiveness: Wise Words from Célestin Musekura and L. Gregory Jones

This past weekend at Eastbrook, we continued exploring the Apostles’ Creed, “Living the Creed,” with a message focused on forgiveness entitled, “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.” Forgiveness is one of the most freeing and challenging practices we encounter in life. We all know we need it from others and should give it to others, yet learning the way of forgiveness can feel unnatural and confusing. This feeling may grow stronger when we read these bracing words from the Apostle Paul:

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

forgiving-as-weve-been-forgiven

In the book Forgiving as We’ve Been ForgivenCélestin Musekura and L. Gregory Jones reflect at length on what it means to forgive. At one point, Musekura reflects on the Cross of Christ in this way:

Because of this divine act, the Christian model of forgiveness stresses the granting of unconditional forgiveness to those who cause injury, pain and suffering in this life.

In the book, Musekura shares his own journey through the pain of the 1994 Rwandan genocide and beyond. Reading his words thrust me back into the trauma-filled stories I had heard from other survivors in Rwanda when visiting in 1999 and 2000 as a staff member of World Relief. Musekura’s own journey into forgiveness and the work he has done with African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM) brought him to this powerful realization:

If forgiveness is the heart of the gospel, it is the center of the church’s mission as well.

Comparing the way of forgiveness to learning how to dance, Jones builds upon this by offering six steps of forgiveness that I have found incredibly helpful. I wanted to share them here as we reflect on our own lives and the divided society around us:

Step 1: Truth Telling: We become willing to speak the truthfully and patiently about the conflicts that have arisen. “We need not only honesty but also patience…[to] discern more clearly what is going on….We must, rather, take the time to talk to one another about the things that divide us” (46-47).

Step 2: Acknowledging Anger: We acknowledge both the existence of anger and bitterness, and a desire to overcome them. “Whether these emotions are our own or belong to others who are mad at us, it does no good to deny them….We learn to overcome bitterness as we begin to live differently through practices that transform hatred into love” (48-49).

Step 3: Concern for the Other: We summon up a concern for the well-being of the other as a child of God. “Seeing as children of God the ones on whom our bitterness focuses challenges our tendency to perceive them simply as enemies, rivals or threats. Now they are potential friends of God” (49-50).

Step 4: Recognizing, Remembering, RepentingWe recognize our own complicity in conflict, remember that we have been forgiven in the past and take the step of repentance. “People need to be held accountable for their actions…we also need to recognize and resist our temptation to blame others while exonerating ourselves….Repentance breaks the cycle of violence and creates space for God to do something new” (51).

Step 5: Commitment to ChangeWe make a commitment to struggle to change whatever caused and continues to perpetuate our conflicts. “Forgiveness out to usher in repentance and change. It ought to inspire prophetic protest wherever people’s lives are being diminished and destroyed. Forgiveness and justice are closely related” (53).

Step 6: Hope for the FutureWe confess our yearning for the possibility of reconciliation. “Continuing to maintain reconciliation as the goal – even if this is ‘hoping against hope’ for reconciliation in this life – is important because it reminds us that God promises to make all things new….Every concrete act – every prayer prayed, every apology offered, every meal shared across dividing lines – is a sign that our history and habits of sin have been definitively interrupted by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ” (55).

Reflecting on Jones’ dance steps of forgiveness, I couldn’t help but reflect on numerous situations I’ve experienced in my own life or in walking with others as a pastor. Some of these steps come naturally, while others take great selflessness and humility. Still, I see them as helpful guides into the pathways of forgiveness.

If, as Célestin Musekura writes, “forgiveness is the heart of the gospel” and “the center of the church’s mission,” then perhaps it is time that you and I enroll in dance lessons under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit!