Quote Rotator

'...for when you speak of the Spirit you are dealing with him in whom there are no differences of scale.'
Taylor, The Go-Between God, p. 23
Prayer needs to carry with it the commitment of our whole being to bring about the just conditions that make prayer possible...
Don Postema, Space for God, p. 158-59
True love does not result in obsession or possession, but in submission.
Most misunderstandings come not from missed definitions but from missed contexts.

Eugene Peterson, Working the Angles, p. 85-86
There is no real safety in being negative. As William James pointed out, a negative choice commits the chooser just as much as a positive one does.
Mary Midgley in Science as Salvation p.110
Without charity, an evangelizing zeal will take on the guise of a will to power, a desire to universalize one's self-image.
Fabien Eboussi Boulaga-Christianity Without Fetishes, p. 68
“Bad news goes about in clogs, good news in stockinged feet.”
Welsh Proverb, quoted by Rich Stearns 'The Hole in Our Gospel'
While most people consider feeling supremely important, I hope you will have discovered that what you think about love will control your behavior, and that the desired feelings will come as a result of the right thinking and the right actions.
Ed Wheat, Love Life for Every Married Couple, p. 54
The goal of the interpreter is not to seek to discern one conceptual unity within the book, or to reconstruct one consistent line of theological discourse throughout the dialogue, but rather to see how this literature was designed to function as a normative guide within a community of faith, which acknowledges its authority.
Brevard Childs, Intro. to OT as Scripture, p. 533
Were all sin now visited with open punishment, it might be thought that nothing was reserved for the final judgement; and, on the other hand, were no sin now openly punished, it might be supposed there was no divine providence.
Augustine, De Civitat. Dei, lib i.c.8
'Be careful of words,' Wiesel quotes a learned Rabbi as saying. 'They're dangerous. Be wary of them. They beget either demons or angels. It's up to you to give life to one or the other.'
Great Souls, p. 365
…theology..has no reason to exist other than to critically accompany the missio Dei.
David Bosch
'Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination.'
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
Prayer is not just one of the many things people do in life, but rather 'the basic receptive attitude out of which all of life can receive new vitality.'
Dan Postema, Space for God, p. 92
Francis Xavier was the Jesuit director of missions in India, China and Japan in the sixteenth century. He once said that he longed to be back in Paris 'to go shouting up and down the streets to tell the students to give up their small ambitions and come eastward to preach the gospel of Christ.'
Michael C. Griffiths, Give Up Your Small Ambitions, p.6
Adoration of the Lamb     Van Eyck

Adoration of the Lamb Van Eyck


Dr. Walls began as a scholar in Patristics under F.L. Cross.  He was focused on the reconstruction of the Greek original of a pre-Nicene body of work.  He had translations of the work in Coptic, Syriac, Ethiopic, Arabic and even the Goths, but none in the original.   What he, and other patristics scholars missed in this was what they did have.  They had examples of the way in which the original text had been read, altered and adapted by a number of early Chrsitian communities in a number of regions.  Surely this history of the transmission of the text was far more exciting and revealing than the reconstruction of the Greek original.

This focus on Western Christianity, and it accompanied dismissal of other non-Western expressions of Christianity, was also expressed in the teaching of Christian history in the West and in the non-West.  This reinforced the idea in Africa and Asia that Christianity was a later comer to these countries arriving from the West.  It supported the idea that Christianity was a Western religion.

Today, however, we recognize Christianity as a global religion.  Christians are found across the globe and this is seen as a relatively recent phenomenon.  But the 21st century is not the first time that Christianity has become global.  In the 6th century, for example, Christianity covered vast areas of Europe, Africa and Asia.  As a matter of fact, Christianity has been global before.  It is a not a recent phenomenon.  Global Christianity today is simply a return to what it has “normally” been.  After all, the governing vision of Christianity is one of people gathered together around Christ from every people, tribe and tongue.


Christianity began as a Jewish movement.  Yet in the 1st century it was crossing boundaries in Jewish society,  In Acts 6 the cracks between groups within Jewish society became visible in the church’s ministry to widows.  The Apostles took quick steps to deal with it.   This church, entered in Jerusalem, boldly proclaimed the Messiah to fellow Jews.  It wasn’t until persecution pushed them out of Jewish territory that they began to speak to non-Jews about the faith.

It was in Antioch that some Jews began to speak to non-Jews of Jesus.  Instead of using the Jewish term Messiah, however, they used a term familiar to Jews and to non-Jews, “Lord”.  As non-Jews and Jews joined together in worshipping Jesus the bi-cultural fellowship came to be called Christians.  The term Christian itself speaks of  themulticultural nature of the faith.

The Jerusalem council in Acts 15 enshrined the principle of bi-culturalism in Christianity.  The Jews would continue to be circumcised and follow the laws while the non-Jews would not.  Instead, they would use a converted form of Hellenistic culture in following Jesus.  Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, shows both Jew and non-Jew to be equally necessary in building the church.

The Hellenistic church grew and became the majority of the Christian church.  When problems hit the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem the Gentiles gave generously to them.

But overtime, the bi-cultural church gave way to Christian lifestyle as a converted form of Greek culture.


The eclipse of the original bi-cultural church was the beginning of a new multicultural model of Christianity.  Over the next 6 centuries Christianity grew to the West, the story we are most familiar with, to the East, from Persia to China, and to the South into the Nile Valley, the horn of Africa, into south Arabia to south India.

The Acts of the Apostles reflects the Western expansion of the church.  But in chapter 8, Luke takes the story in a different direction.  In the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch. he points to the spread of the faith in other directions; specifically south into the heart of Africa.

We have covered a number of key areas and moments of this expansion south and East in previous lectures.  But by the 7th century Christianity has become, not just bi-cultural, but multi-cultural and global.  At about this time both the King of Northumbria and the Emperor of China were taking their first look at the Christian gospel.

At the same time, however, between the 5th and the 7th century, there were a series of developments which helped turn back the advance.  These include the collapse of the Roman Empire and the East-West split of the church,

We are perhaps less familiar with the latter development.  When Constantine called together the Nicene council, he understood the global nature of Christianity and called some bishops from Christian communities outside of the Empire.  Future Emperors, however, did not.  The council at Chalcedon, for example, did not have representation outside othe Empire.  As a result, their decisions on doctrine which were satisfactory to those who did their theological thinking in Greek and Latin did not fit with those who were theologizing in Syriac and Coptic.

As the decisions of Chalcedon were pushed upon them and their “Nestorian” and “Monophysite” views became anathema, the break-up of the 6th century global church was underway.  The Christians of the Empire were cut off from the Christians of Africa and Asia.  And over time it became easier to take the divisions in the church for granted.

Once the Arab Empire arose with its new found Islamic faith, Christianity in its European and Western form became the only form, if not the only authentic form.  This was to last through Christendom until the present day.


Now, however, we find ourselves in a new age of global Christianity.   Christianity  is even larger and more diverse than it was in the 6th century.  It is multi-centric, multi-lingual and multi-ethnic.

The question is, will this new global expression be able to heal the divisions of the 6th century?  Will each expression of Christianity in different regions around the world be able to produce a convincing sight of converted reality?  And will each expression understand itself and be understood as building block in the common church of Jesus Christ?  Will we  share together in the body of Christ?


No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment