SSU Reading List For This Fall

SSU Reading List For This Fall

I recently received the reading list for this fall’s classes at St. Stephen’s University – and I must say I am very, very excited! Most of the books are ones that I have not read before – and better still – they are ones that have been on my must-read-one-day list.  Life is good!  😀   The Early Church: Acts to Benedict’s Rule Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers, trans. Maxwell Staniforth Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History Athanasius, The Life of Anthony and the Letter to Marcellinus, trans. Robert C. Gregg The Desert Fathers, trans. Helen Waddell St. Augustine, The Confessions, Books 1-9 St. Augustine, The City of God, Book 1: Chapters 1-14 and Book 22: Chapters 1-10 The Rule of St. Benedict, trans. A. C. Meisel & M. L. del Mastro Tony Hendra, Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul Francis S. Collins, The Language of God Sandra L. Richter, The Epic of Eden The Book of Genesis Roger E. Olson, The Story of Christian Theology (pages: 11-277) Justo L. Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1& 2 (Preface to 220) Gerald L. Sittser, Water from a Deep Well (Chapters 1-4) The Pastor’s Use of Scripture Colin J. Humphries, The Miracles of Exodus Peter Fitch, Learning to Interpret Toward Love Peter Gomes, The Good Book:Reading the Bible with Mind and...
How Would Jesus Rule If He Was King?

How Would Jesus Rule If He Was King?

As noted before (most recently here and here) I have been thinking a lot about the Sovereignty of God/Free Will dilemma and the different worldviews that grow out of our understanding of this mystery. Today I want to explore what Sovereignty of God would look like if seen through Jesus. Or to rephrase the topic, what kind of king is Jesus and how would he rule? Before we start, I must admit to a strong presumption that colors everything I see. Namely I believe that Jesus is the most clear picture we have of the Creator King. To see Jesus is to see the Creator (John 14:9). Or has St. Paul wrote, Jesus is the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). Practically this means that when I seek to know what God the Creator is like, I will look to Jesus as revealed through the four Gospels rather than looking toward the Old Testament or the letters of the New Testament. I know that this method of theology is frown upon by some people…but at this point in my life, this is where I fall. 🙂 Returning to the topic at hand, let us chat a bit about how Jesus would rule. To do this, let us create two lists with words that we would associate with how we would think Jesus would rule and how we would think we humans would rule. While we could add more words to each list, I think the pattern has been established. Namely the way in which we humans try to rule is vastly different than the way in which Jesus would...
A More Christlike God: Thoughts on Brad Jersak’s book

A More Christlike God: Thoughts on Brad Jersak’s book

I read it twice. Within three months. This, I might add, is a VERY rare thing for me as I typically only read a book once. And those books which I do re-read, I usually re-read them after a few years. So to say that I read Brad Jersak’s book “A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel” twice within three months is saying a lot. Granted if I’m being completed honest, I must admit that it was the prospect of meeting Brad in person that prompted me to re-read the book. Brad was scheduled to be my one of my professors at St. Stephen’s University this past October and I wanted to be able to ask him some questions about his book. And yes, the books was required reading by Brad along with N.T. Wright’s “Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters.” (You HAVE to love classes that require you to read the books you would read on your on! No more self-justifications of the cost – instead it is all wrapped up in the “education” bucket of the budget!!) 😀 Before talking about the book itself, it is helpful to know a bit more about Dr. Brad Jersak. As mentioned already, Brad is an adjunct faculty member at St. Stephen’s University in Canada. He also teaches New Testament and Patristics classes at Westminster Theological Centre in the United Kingdom in addition to serving as the senior editor of Plain Truth Ministries. His faith journey includes growing up within the Baptist General Conference before becoming a church planter/pastor within...
Experiential Spirituality: Peter Rollins (Part 7 of 7)

Experiential Spirituality: Peter Rollins (Part 7 of 7)

The post-modern pastor and theologian Peter Rollins (1973-Present) is the eleventh and final travel guide along this journey. Growing up in Northern Ireland during the post-Christendom shift of the late-20th century, Rollins embraced the mystical writings of Meister Eckhart and others [2012, xiv]. This led Rollins to promote having a sense of doubt, unknowing and uncertainty within the Christian walk as intellectual theology will never fully capture the Living God. Faith, to Rollins, is “analogous to the experience of an infant feeling the embrace and tender kiss of its mother” [2012, 1]. This does not mean that Rollins is against theology; rather he sees theology as “reflecting upon” the God who “grasps us” [2012, 1]. This embracement of the mystical experience of God all comes down to love. God is personally in love with humanity just as his followers are to be passionately in love with him and their fellow humans. This is a love that “cannot be worked up but is gained only as we give up” and let ourselves become a “dwelling place in which God can reside and from which God can flow” [2015, 75]. Rollins and Williams are fitting ends to this journey along the experiential spirituality path of the last five-hundred years. Both of them are helping the 21st century church retain and explore the value of experiencing the Living God within an intimate ongoing relationship. As St. Ignatius, St. Teresa, Blaise Pascal, Brother Lawrence, St. Thérèse, Martin Luther, John Calvin, George Herbert, and William Seymour taught before them, God is a living God who seeks a personal on-going relationship with his people. Rather than...
Experiential Spirituality: William Seymour and Don Williams (Part 6 of 7)

Experiential Spirituality: William Seymour and Don Williams (Part 6 of 7)

The focus on experiential spirituality dramatically increased within Protestantism at the beginning of the 20th century with the start of Pentecostalism through William J. Seymour.  The son of former slaves freed at the end of the Civil War within the United States of America, Seymour (1870-1922) passionately pursued God at an early age and “found his identity in Jesus Christ” [Liardon 1996, 141] in such a way that he oozed the Spirit of God. John G. Lake, an early Pentecostal leader, said that Seymour had “more of God in his life than any man I had ever met up to that time” [Liardon 1996, 154]. This passion for experiencing the Living God captured the hearts of thousands of people as Seymour lead the Azusa Street Revival (1906-1915). Early Pentecostal historian Frank J. Ewart, who was also an eyewitness to the revival in its later years, later wrote that Seymour’s ministry was “not built on a new system of doctrine, but on an eminent scriptural experience” [1975, 69]. The inmate ongoing relationship promoted by St. Thérèse and other mystics within the Roman Catholic Church had finally found a home within Protestantism. The tenth travel guide along our experiential spirituality journey is Don Williams (1937-Present). Williams was a Presbyterian pastor who had a personal encounter with the Living God through the ministry of John Wimber, the leader of the Vineyard Movement, which challenged his Calvinist education that had taught him “not to expect any powerful work of the Holy Spirit after conversion” [Williams 2011, 5]. Building upon this experience, Williams went on to influence the direction of Christian worship and church...