The proof of the pudding is in the exegeting.
Remark made by Steve Timmis in discussing a hypothesis on the social background to Hebrews and the need to test such hypotheses exegetically.
Jacob has spent his life searching for blessing, but avoiding God.
God is dangerous. He is the aggressor in the narrative. He is not comfortable to have around. Yet in the struggle with God our relationship with him grows and our faith is immeasurably deepened.
It is true that prayer is a struggle against our sinful nature, which retains its disinclination towards prayer, so that to wrestle in prayer is struggle against ourselves. But prayer can also be a struggle against God. This was Jacob's experience and, as we have seen, his experience was defining for the people of God. It is not, of course, that a reluctant God can be won over by our persistence. It is rather that God also purposes for us to deepen our relationship with him - he wants us to share the intimacy of the trinitarian relationship, and rattling through a list of prayer requests falls far short of this purpose!
God may actually resist us when we pray in order that we in turn may resist and overcome his resistance, and so be led into deeper dependence on him and greater enrichment from him at the end of the day. (Packer)
Meaningful theology needs to take place primarily in the routine life of the people of God. It needs to be discourse that engages with life and arises out of life.
Mission is the opportunity to rethink which elements of what we believe do belong to the gospel and which in fact belong to our culture.
We need to rethink all of theology in missionary terms because every situation is a missionary situation. We need a missional approach to doctrine, to biblical studies, to church history, to ethics, to pastoral care and so on.
[This] also means that when issues arise in our churches and ministry, time should be taken to reflect on them theologically. They often present real opportunities to move forward in theological understanding. And without this theological reflection we will be driven by pragmatism or tradition. As theologians together, our ‘subject’ should be exploring the missiological implications of all theology in every aspect of the life of the local church and every detail of the lives of believers.
It’s tied up in part with the incessant demand of a digital world… There is always digital input somewhere, unless you actually self-consciously cut yourself off from it. So that time management, to allow yourself time to read and think and meditate and pray is becoming a really crucial issue. It’s not just that we are sacrificing the important on the altar of the urgent. Most of this stuff is not urgent. We’re sacrificing the important on the altar of the noisy, or on the altar of the digitally visual, on the altar of that little ‘ping’… Somewhere along the line, if you are going to be committed to ministry that is effused with intercession and meditating on the Word of God you are going to have to turn off a whole lot of off switches… It’s becoming a crucial thing for maintaining integrity in ministry.[from 35.00]
[question asked about time management from 50.50, these quotes from 54.00]
Learn how to use the little bits of time... 15 minutes here, 20 minutes there.
Work hard and play hard and never confuse the two. There are lots of people who work long hours but it’s diluted by all kinds of interruptions… So they put in the hours but when you actually calculate actual productive time they’ve put in it’s not actually that much… An awful lot of it is learning to be efficient at doing one thing at a time.
Prayer is the conversation of friends. It is not a mere convenience for letting God know what we are thinking or what we want. Prayer is that for which we were made. It is at the heart of God's plan of salvation. To understand the tremendous privilege and import of prayer we need to see it in the context of God's purpose to have a relationship with his people... In other words, prayer is part of the definition of what it means to be a Christian. (27)
The riddle of creation is that God should desire to enter into a relationship with his creatures outside his trinitarian being. And this riddle is the foundation of prayer - and not only of prayer but of human existence. (29)
The genius of Moses is to recognise that salvation is fellowship with God. (32, commenting on Exodus 33)
Prayer is not ultimate but penultimate, a pointer to the day when we shall see God face to face. It directs our attention forward to our participation in the trinitarian community. Prayer is an anticipation of the day when we shall truly know even as we are truly known. (38)
The gospel is not fixed to one cultural form, but is to be translated into every culture, re-orientating each one Godwards… the Christian faith is ‘infinitely translatable’ and its history is a history of diffusion across cultural boundaries and its appropriation by new cultures… Cultural diversity is an implication of the Lordship of Christ… Christ’s Great Commission is to disciple the nations, not to make some disciples in each nation.
These are some of the main ideas from the work of Andrew Walls, honorary professor at Edinburgh University, on contextualisation and the relationship between the gospel and culture, on which I wrote an essay for the Northern Training Institute.
Andrew Walls has, as far as I know, written no books per se, but there are two collections of his essays, The Missionary Movement in Christian History and The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History. Each book is divided into three sections: the first is on the transmission of the christian faith, the second is on Africa and the third on the Western Missionary Movement.
They are really well-worth reading, I recommend them!
I read most of the essays in the first section of each book for my essay:
Diversity and Translation in Christian Mission: Andrew Walls on Contextualisation
(If the link doesn´t work, try here)
He suffered not that we might not suffer but that in our suffering we would become like Him.- Tim Keller, in lecture 8 "Applying to Christ: Getting Down to Earth Part One" in a series by Keller & Clowney on Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World
It is by beholding the glory of Christ by faith that we are spiritually edified and built up in this world, for as we behold his glory, his life and power of faith grow stronger and stronger. It is by faith that we grow to love Christ. So if we desire strong faith and powerful love, which give us rest, peace and satisfaction, we must seek them by diligently beholding the glory of Christ by faith. In this duty I desire to live and to die. On Christ's glory I would fix all my thoughts and desires, and the more I see of the glory of Christ, the more the painted beauties of this world will wither in my eyes and I will be more and more crucified to this world.
John Owen, The Glory of Christ, (Banner of Truth, abridged edition) p.7