Claim Ownership


Subscribed: 0Played: 0


Welcome to episode eighty-four of New Creation Conversations. In today’s conversation I’m excited to be joined by Dr. Alan Street. Alan is the Senior Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biblical Theology at Criswell College. He holds PhDs in New Testament and pastoral theology. He has written several books including: The Effective Invitation, Subversive Meals, Heaven on Earth, and Caesar and Sacrament. His most recent book is Songs of Resistance: Challenging Caesar and Empire (published by Cascade Books).The book is a fascinating study of the songs, poems, and hymnody of the early church that shows up in the New Testament. Street argues that the early Christ followers sang these songs in order to oppose the empire’s worldview and offer an alternative vision for society. As the early church sang, they were emboldened to remain faithful to Christ and withstand the temptation to comply with the sociopolitical agenda of the empire.I found the book very thoughtful and a wonderful exploration of the life, faith, and theology of the earliest Christians. It was also fun to talk to a distinguished scholar about his unique journey into biblical theology. 
Welcome to episode eighty-three of New Creation Conversations. In today’s conversation I’m excited to be joined by Jason Porterfield. Jason is a gifted young theological thinker, writer, and advocate for peace. Jason has made his home in places abandoned by society, from Canada’s poorest neighborhood to the slums of Indonesia. His passion is to cultivate God’s shalom wherever it is painfully absent and to help churches embrace their peacemaking vocation.Jason has a master’s degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. In 2007, Jason joined Servants, an international network of Christian communities living and ministering among the urban poor. He was a founding member of the Servants team in Vancouver, started a new team in Indonesia, and directed operations in North America through 2015. Our conversation centers on Jason’s most recent book Fight Like Jesus: How Jesus Waged Peace throughout Holy Week. The book recently received the American Book Fest’s 2022 Best Book Award in Christianity and the Illumination Book Award’s 2023 Gold Medal in Theology. The book is really well done and a very timely read with Holy Week just a couple of weeks away. In the book, Jason goes day-by-day through the final week of Jesus’ life and explores what we learn about Christ’s radical vision for peace through the events of each of those days. Throughout Holy Week, two competing approaches to peacemaking collide. In the book Jason wonders, what if we’ve embraced the wrong one?It is a very challenging and transformative book, and an important conversation. So, thanks for joining me for this New Creation Conversation. Here’s my conversation with Jason Porterfield.
Welcome to episode eighty-two of New Creation Conversations. In today’s conversation I’m excited to share with you my conversation with Marty Solomon. Marty is a theologian and biblical scholar who serves as the president of Impact Campus Ministries and has a passionate belief that the best way to pursue all of these dreams for changing the world is to work with young adults who will be creating that world. he longs to help young people see why the work that they do every day is part of how God is putting the world back together. in addition to his work with impact, Marty is also the creator and executive producer of the BEMA podcast. A podcast that helps people walk through the entire Bible understanding both its context and its surrounding history.Marty and I clicked immediately, at least in part, because Marty is originally from my neighborhood here in Idaho. For several years after college, Marty served as a pastor in the Boise area before taking extended time to dive more deeply into biblical studies and helping others understand the Bible more clearly.Our conversation centers on Marty’s brand new book, that was just released yesterday Feb. 7, Asking Better questions of the Bible: A Guide for the Wounded, Wary and Longing for More (published by NavPress). In the book, Marty wonders if as we read the scripture, we may too often be asking the wrong questions. Because of our context, we tend to go to the Bible as though it's a book written from a modern, western perspective and in that process, we end up asking questions the Bible isn't really asking, so we shouldn't be surprised that we often get the wrong answers. Asking better questions of the Bible provides a comprehensive and accessible guide to the culture, viewpoints, and context of the bible's original authors and audience. The book offers a fresh way to read and understand each distinct portion of scripture, which points the reader more clearly toward the beautiful mystery of God's story. The book is really well done and accessible for readers of all kinds. I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation with Marty, and I'm excited to get to share it with you.
Welcome back to episode eighty-one of New Creation Conversations. The day before Thanksgiving I had to go in for some surgery and then I needed to take a couple of months off. So, thanks for your patience, but as we start this New Year, we are back at it trying to have conversations that keep the church and academy connected to each other. In this first conversation back, I’m joined by Pastor Brent Neely. Brent is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene and is currently serving as an Associate Pastor at New Horizon Church in Belton, Missouri. Brent is a graduate of both Eastern Nazarene College and Nazarene Theological Seminary. He is currently working on his doctorate, studying monastic spirituality.   Brent has recently written a book entitled The Book of Ancient Prayers: 365+ Prayers from the Saints of the Church. The book offers daily prayers from a wide variety of Christian sources both ancient and contemporary and includes the voices of men and women from every continent. While the book can be started anytime, it is designed to follow the Christian liturgical year. At the end of the book are some additional prayers specifically tied to the various liturgical seasons. It's a wonderful book and a rich conversation with a young church leader what we can learn from ancient spiritual practices that can help us better follow Christ today. So, welcome back to New Creation Conversations. 
Welcome to episode eighty of New Creation Conversations. In today’s conversation I get to talk to two friends and a unique couple who both are amazingly gifted and thoughtful. I know and have worked with both Dr. Nell Becker Sweeden and Dr. Josh Sweeden individually on various projects the last few years and I know firsthand how gifted they both are. However, I deeply appreciate the ways they continue to embody how to serve the Lord together as a couple and as a family in ways that mutually serve one another and make space for one another’s calling, while also working and ministering together in powerful ways as well.  They are both Point Loma and NTS graduates and are both ordained elders in the CoN. Nell has a PhD in Practical Theology from Boston University and currently serves as the Director of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries – serving in 163 world areas to support and equip local communities to transform lives by creating holistic solutions to alleviate poverty and suffering. She is the author of a previous book Church on the Way: Hospitality and Migration (2015, Wipf and Stock).Josh also earned his PhD in Practical Theology from BU. He is currently Professor of Church and Society at Nazarene Theological Seminary. He has also written a previous book, The Church and Work: The Ecclesiological Grounding of Good Work (Pickwick Publications, 2014). Josh and Nell also have two sons – Eli and Asher.Their most recent project together – and the center of our conversation - is a wonderful new book entitled Holiness in a Restless World, published by The Foundry Press.It is a rich, thoughtful, and accessible book that wrestles with the on-going journey and process of pursuing the holy life. As they point out in the book, the bible is filled with all kinds of stories of wandering, restlessness, dispersion, and finally coming home. Nell and Josh invite readers to set aside some of our presuppositions about what the holy life looks like – especially in the places where our imaginations have been captured by what they call the “heroic.” Instead, they invite us to discover holiness in the everyday stuff of relationships, work, and neighborly love. This is a great book for mornings of reflection with God or conversations and prayer with a small group of fellow travelers on the road of discipleship. I deeply value Nell and Josh. I love this book. And I’m thankful to get to bring this conversation to you. So, thanks for joining me for these New Creation Conversations. Here’s my conversation with Dr. Nell Becker Sweeden and Dr. Joshua Sweeden.
Welcome to episode seventy-nine of New Creation Conversations. In today’s conversation I got to make another new friend and have an important conversation about an issue that has been a hot topic of conversation for the last five or six years – Christian Nationalism. Dr. Paul D. Miller is a political theorist and political scientist focusing on international affairs, the American experiment, and America’s role in the world. He spent a decade in public service as Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan on the National Security Council staff, as an intelligence analyst for the CIA, and a military intelligence officer in the US Army. Paul is currently a Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at Georgetown University. He is an alum of Georgetown, has a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard, and earned a PhD from Georgetown in International Relations. As you can imagine, he has written widely on international affairs, political theory, and religion in public life. His most recent book – and the focus of our conversation – is The Religion of American Greatness: What’s Wrong with Christian Nationalism (published recently by IVP Academic).It is an excellent book. It is thoughtful, detailed, and balanced. I learned a great deal form the book and felt very delighted and privileged to be able to have a conversation with Dr. Miller about it. No matter your political leanings, there is a great deal to be gleaned from Dr. Miller’s research and experience. 
In today’s conversation I got to make a new friend and have a wonderful conversation about an important cultural the theological issue - immigration. Karen Gonzalez is a writer, speaker, and immigrant advocate who emigrated from Guatemala as a child. She attended Fuller Theological Seminary, where she studied theology and missiology. For the last 15 years, Karen has been a non-profit professional, currently working for an organization that serves asylum seekers. She wrote a book about her own immigration and story and the many immigrants found in the Bible in The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong (Herald Press, 2019). Her new book is Beyond Welcome: Centering Immigrants in our Christian Response to Immigration (scheduled to be released on October 18, 2022, from Brazos Press). I was privileged to get to read an advanced copy of the book and found it to be so helpful in clarifying our language related to immigration, understanding the realities of the many populations on the move in the world, reflect biblically on the subject, and think imaginatively about our Christian response. It is a very helpful and readable book, and a thoughtful conversation. 
Welcome to episode seventy-seven of New Creation Conversations. Today’s conversation is with a return guest, my dear friend and a gifted pastor and leader, Dr. David Busic. David has been serving as one a General Superintendents in the Church of the Nazarene for almost a decade now. In addition to his current role, he has pastored three congregations and served as the president of Nazarene Theological Seminary. In our last conversation, David talked about his unique journey into ministry. This time I got him to open up and reflect a bit about his various assignments in ministry and what God taught him in each of those places and positions, and what God is teaching him right now in his current role. He also shares about some of the key mentors in his life and what they contributed to his development as a leader.Our conversation also centers on his new book The Praying Pastor (published recently by The Foundry). It is a helpful, accessible, encouraging, and practical guide to how, as pastors, we can make the important spiritual discipline of prayer more central in our vocation and leadership. Because the Church of the Nazarene is one of just a handful of denominations that is structured globally, David and his colleagues on the Board of General Superintendents get to see a breadth of the Church that many if not most of us rarely get to see. Some of what he experiences is difficult and challenging, but much of he witnesses is also miraculous and full of the new creation life of God’s Spirit. I love any chance to get to talk to my friend about leadership in the Christ’s church. And I’m glad I get to share this conversation with you. 
Welcome to episode seventy-six of New Creation Conversations. My guest today is the incredibly gifted writer and Christian philosopher, Dr. James K.A. Smith. I have really been looking forward to having this conversation for a while. Jamie and I became friends about twenty-five years ago when he was a young professor at Loyola-Marymount University, and I was early in my teaching career at Southern Nazarene University. We both got accepted into a summer study program at Calvin College to study “eschatology and hope” with Dr. Miroslav Volf. It was a very enriching summer intellectually and spiritually. However, part of the benefit of the program was that Calvin invited us to bring our families with us for the six weeks we were there. It just happened that Jamie and his wife Deanna, and Deb and I both had four kids all around the same age and so we got to hang out as families.The group that summer had several very gifted and bright people in it, but it didn’t take long for us to figure out that Jamie was gifted in unique ways. Eventually Calvin invited him to join their very prestigious philosophy faculty – a faculty that in the past has included names like Richard Mouw, Alvin Plantinga, and Nicholas Wolterstorff. Jamie now is Professor of Philosophy and the Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview. In these last two decades Jamie has written some of the most widely read and greatly influential books of this generation. We will talk about several of them in our conversation, but some of the best known are Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?; How (Not) to Be Secular (CT winner); the award-winning Desiring the Kingdom (CT winner); You are What You Love, and more recently On the Road with St. Augustine (CT winner). He’s also written for the Wall Street Journal, the nY Times, The Washington Post, USA Today… well, you get the point.Jamie has an amazing story of both coming to faith in Christ and becoming a scholar – which he I got him to tell pieces of in our conversation. He’s a graduate of the University of Waterloo. Did his Master’s in Philosophy at the Institute for Christian Studies, and earned his PhD in Philosophy from Villanova University. A lot of our conversation centers on his brand-new book, How to Inhabit Time: Understanding the Past, Facing the Future, Living Faithfully Now (Brazos Press). It is exactly what you would expect from Jamie, a rich, thoughtful, well-written, and transformational textJamie makes a very short list of four or five people who have shaped my own journey and my thinking the most, it’s fun that I also get to call him a friend. Thanks for listening in to this New Creation Conversation. Here’s my conversation with Dr. James K.A. Smith.
Hello friends! Welcome to episode seventy-five of New Creation Conversations. This is a very special conversation for me today because I get to talk with one of my very good friends but also with one of my heroes. My friend is Dr. Brent Strawn – whom I have had on the podcast a couple of times before. Brent is the D. Moody Smith Distinguished Professor of Old Testament and Professor of Law at Duke University and Divinity School. He is a longtime friend and an accomplished author. We have talked about a couple of his recent works on past podcasts.Brent is editing a series for WJK Press called Pivotal Moments in the Old Testament. The most recent volume in the series is entitled Returning from the Abyss: Pivotal Moments in the Book of Jeremiah by Dr. Walter Brueggemann. When I saw the book was coming out, I asked Brent if he might be able to convince Dr. Brueggemann to come on and have a roundtable conversation between the three of us. He agreed and I am so excited to get to bring that conversation to you.Walter is without question one of the most influential and prolific biblical interpreters of our time. He has authored over a hundred books and numerous scholarly articles. I have a shelf in my library with close to forty of his books. Perhaps my favorites are three volumes of his sermons. Dr. Brueggemann will tell some of his story growing up in Tilden, Nebraska. He graduated from Elmhurst College and Eden Theological Seminary. He earned a ThD in Old Testament at Union Theological Seminary and later completed a PhD in education at St Louis University. Now “retired” for almost 20 years, he spent his forty-two-year teaching career at both Eden and Columbia Theological Seminaries.
Welcome to episode seventy-four of New Creation Conversations. We are back after about a month hiatus for vacation and to get this school year started. In August my wife and daughter and I took a long-anticipated trip to Spain, France, and Italy. It was my first time in those places, and we had an amazing time. However, I’m excited to be back to working on some New Creation Conversations. And just FYI, you’re going to want to hang in for the announcement of who’s joining me the next few weeks. I’m super excited… but I’m also very excited to introduce my guest for today. Dr. Dean Flemming has just recently retired after lots of years of teaching. Dean is now Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Mission at MidAmerica Nazarene University. Dean taught for over twenty years outside the US – at European Nazarene College and at Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary. About a decade ago Dean came back to his Alma Matter – MidAmerica Nazarene University – and finished his teacher career there. He also has an MDiv degree from NTS and earned his PhD in New Testament from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Dean has written six books and contributed to several others. Our conversation focuses on his most recent book, Foretaste of the Future: Reading Revelation in the Light of God’s Mission (published by IVP Academic). As you will hear, Dean not only has important insights into Revelation, but his unique gift is helping us to read the Scripture – and in this case Revelation – missionally. It’s a great book and a rich conversation.
Welcome to episode seventy-three of New Creation Conversations. It’s a joy for me today to get to have a conversation with one of my favorite young scholars and ministers, Dr. Henry Spaulding III – better known to his family and friends as “Hank.” Hank is the Associate Campus Pastor and Assistant Professor of Theology at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. He’s an alum of Trevecca Nazarene University, has Master’s Degree in Theological Studies from Duke Divinity School, and has a PhD in Christian Ethics from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Hank and I talk about the unique challenges of campus ministry, but we also talk about his two writing projects – one out and one in process. The project that is out is The Just and Loving Gaze of God with Us: Paul’s Apocalyptic Political Theology (published by Wipf and Stock). This book is an edited version of Hank’s dissertation work and is an interesting look at the recent interest in the Apostle Paul by non-Christian political scholars and reflects on what they get right but also what they often misunderstand about Paul’s political theology. The project that is forthcoming is Iconoclastic Sex – it is a quantitative and theological study of the problem of sex trafficking and Christian sexual ethics. Both are interesting works, and both are deeply connected to the vision of a new creation.It is always encouraging to me to get to connect with young scholars. I’m deeply thankful for those like Hank who have a passion for deep theological reflection and for church ministry. I’m thankful that people like him are picking up the baton and carrying it forward. 
Welcome to episode seventy-two of New Creation Conversations. One of the joys for me in starting this podcast has been the chance to make several new friends along the way. However, it has also been a joy to help others get to know some of my great long-term friends. Today I get to share a conversation with a treasured friend and a true kindred spirit in pastoral ministry. For about a decade Dave Roberts and I pastored about twelve miles from each other – down the 201 Freeway – in Southern California. Dave and his wife Cindy have spent their entire post-seminary ministry (34 years!) serving the Church of the Nazarene in Montrose, California. A congregation simply known as The Montrose Church.I recently was asked to introduce Dave when he spoke at our Northwest field gathering. I went into detail about all the things that were different in 1988 – when Dave first went to Montrose – to how they are now. For example, it was the year I graduated from college. The year George HW Bush (the older one) was elected president. And only 15% of American households had any kind of computer. It takes a lot of persistence and patience to stay with one group of people that long. It takes a lot of creativity and leadership to grow a church of less than 50 to a church running over 900. But most of all it takes a lot of integrity and character to live openly and lovingly with a people for that long. As I told that gathering, no one can fake faithfulness for 34 years.Dave is an alum of both Southern Nazarene University and Nazarene Theological Seminary. We talk quite a bit about longevity in ministry. But we also talk about his recent and very helpful book, Healing Conversations: Taking Yourself Out of Conflict and Loneliness – published by Morgan James Press. It is such an important book for such a divided time. I think The Montrose Church is one of the best-kept secrets in my denomination, and a lot of that is due to Dave’s great pastoral heart and leadership. I hope many of you know him already, but if not I’m excited to get to introduce him to you. Here is my New Creation Conversation with Pastor Dave Roberts.
Welcome to episode seventy-one of New Creation Conversations. I apologize that we missed an episode last week, we were hosting a denominational conference at our church last week, and it took up all my extra space last week. The good news is that it gave me the opportunity to sit down with a couple of the guests at the conference and have face-to-face conversations with them about their writing and work. I get to share one of those conversations with you today. Rev. Caleb Cray Haynes is church planter and co-pastor with his wife, Emily, at Kalaeo Church in Nashville. He is also the co-founder of Nazarenes for Creation Care. Caleb grew up in the hills of rural Tennessee where the love of God’s creation grew deep roots in his early life and experience. Tending to gardens and wandering in the woods are still part of Caleb’s story. Following a call to ministry, he attended Trevecca Nazarene University and received a degree in Religion and Philosophy. Afterward, Caleb served as a volunteer Nazarene missionary through Mission Corp in Mainz, Germany, aiding in church planting with (one of our previous guests Philip Zimmerman) Church in Action. He is currently working on a Master’s Degree in Theology and Ecology from Nazarene Theological College in Manchester, UK.We focus our conversation not only on his work with Nazarenes for Creation Care but also on his recently published book, Garbage Theology: The Unseen World of Waste and What It Means for the Salvation of Every Person, Every Place, and Every Thing. It’s not only a thoughtful book but an important conversation that – as those created to be reflections of God’s care and dominion of creation – the church desperately needs to have. I’m really thankful for young leaders like Caleb helping us have that conversation, and I’m glad you’ve joined us for this great conversation. Here is my New Creation Conversation with Pastor Caleb Cray Haynes.
Welcome to episode seventy of New Creation Conversations. I’m delighted to get to share a second conversation with Dr. Andrew Root. Andy is Professor and Carrie Olson Baalson Chair of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary. Andy is an alum of Bethel College in Minnesota. He has both an MDiv and ThM degrees from Fuller Seminary and a PhD from Princeton Seminary. He’s written several books on youth ministry, spiritual formation, and even on the grace of dogs.Our conversation centers on his most recent book Churches and the Crisis of Decline: A Hopeful Practical Ecclesiology for a Secular Age (from Baker Academic). This latest book is the fourth in a series of six books Andy is writing on ministry in a secular age. I read quite a bit and so I rarely go back and read books twice. I have found Andy’s series so significant that I have read and the re-read each of the first four books in this series. It’s hard for me to pick, but I think this most recent book is my favorite in the series so far. In its pages Charles Taylor intersects with Karl Barth and both speak to the current challenges of ministry. Andy is in high demand these days and is on the road often. I feel privileged that he made the space a second time to have a conversation with me about his fascinating and significant work. I love this conversation. It’s a little longer than normal, but I had so many things I wanted to talk about, and I still didn’t get to all my questions. I think you will like this conversation a lot also. 
Welcome to episode sixty-nine of New Creation Conversations. I’m excited to get to share with you today my recent conversation with Dr. Brent Waters. Brent has just recently retired after serving for several years as Professor of Christian Social Ethics and Director of the Jerre L. and Mary Joy Stead Center for Ethics and Values at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Brent is an alum of the University of Redlands. He has both an MDiv and DMin degrees from Claremont School of Theology and has a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Oxford. Brent has written eight books and dozens and dozens of articles and papers on Christian economics, bioethics, technology, genetic research, and even the ethics of family life.Our conversation primarily focusses on his new book Common Callings and Ordinary Virtues: Christian Ethics for Everyday Life (from Baker Academic). Every day, we do commonplace things and interact with ordinary people without always reflecting deeply on those interactions. In this book Brent reflects deeply and theologically about the ethical significance of our daily activities and relationships – especially about how practices that seem mundane are actually expressions of love of neighbor and are vitally important to our wellbeing. In other words, our faith gives our ordinary life meaning. It’s a wonderful book and a thoughtful conversation. 
Welcome to episode sixty-eight of New Creation Conversations. I’m excited to get to share with you today a second conversation with Dr. Myles Werntz. Myles is the Director of Baptist Studies and Associate Professor of Theology at Abilene Christian University, where he directs the Baptist Studies Center in the Graduate School of Theology. He is the author and editor of several books in theology and ethics and writes broadly on the Christian ethics of war and peace, immigration, ecclesiology, and discipleship. We had a conversation a few months ago with is friend David Cramer about their co-authored book A Field Guide to Christian Nonviolence. In this conversation Myles and I discuss his brand-new book, From Isolation to Community: A Renewed Vision for Christian Life Together – published by Baker Academic.Like many others, the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer have been deeply influential. Bonhoeffer’s Letters, Ethics, and The Cost of Discipleship have been important formative works in my journey. However, perhaps the work that I have returned to repeatedly is his little tract Life Together. In his new book, Myles takes Bonhoeffer’s work and reflects on the theme of isolation as one of the key problems of our age. Profoundly, Myles reflects on how the church, even while meeting together lives into and exacerbates the problem of isolation. He even points to the ease with which most congregations were able to navigate the separation created by the pandemic as a sign of the way isolation has taken hold of our imaginations. Like Bonhoeffer himself, Myles goes beyond analysis and offers theological depth and describes the practices that might heal our isolation. It is a thoughtful book that resonated deeply with me, and I know you’ll find this conversation helpful as well.
Welcome to episode sixty-seven of New Creation Conversations. I’m excited to have a second conversation today with my good friend Dr. Michael Lodahl. Mike is Professor of Theology and World Religions at Point Loma Nazarene University. Mike is an alum of Northwest Nazarene University, has an MDiv from Nazarene Theological Seminary, and a PhD from Emory University. Mike has written extensively on narrative theology, holiness, and the relationship of Christian and Islamic faiths. Our conversation is centered on his most recent book Praying with Jesus: Meditations on the Lord’s Prayer – published by The Foundry Press.Mike is one of my favorite people to chat with anytime, but I really did love this conversation on prayer. His reflections on the Lord’s Prayer – and what we learn about the nature of character of God from it – are helpful. But I love that The Foundry has not only published the book but has turned it into a resource for pastors for preaching and have created resources for children and youth to participate in the series as well. It is well done, and I know it will be a blessing to those congregations who journey together through it. Mike is a great storyteller and a rich and thoughtful theologian. My challenge in my conversations with Mike is keeping it to an hour. I think you will love his reflections on prayer – and I get a couple of good thoughts in this week also. Thanks for leaning into these New Creation Conversations. 
Welcome to episode sixty-six of New Creation Conversations. I’m excited to be joined in today’s conversation by Dr. Mark Teasdale. Mark is the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Garrett Theological Seminary. Mark is an alum of The American University, has both MDiv and DMin degrees from Wesley Theological Seminary, and has a PhD from Southern Methodist University. Mark has written extensively on evangelism. Our conversation is centered on his most recent book Participating in Abundant Life: Holistic Salvation for a Secular Age – published by IVP Academic.In his new book, Mark argues that our world is hungry for salvation, but we don't always know how to talk about it. Christians agree that God cares about people's lives both in this world and into eternity. But the ways we describe salvation often separate these two spaces: the spiritual from the material. Many groups emphasize one at the expense of the other, limiting the picture of what God has to offer. Mark works to bridge the gap by taking up Jesus' language of abundant life. The abundant is something Jesus invites us to participate in―to seek both for ourselves and for others. The abundant life is rich and multidimensional, not splitting spirits and minds from bodies and material needs. By connecting a vision of “holistic salvation” to contemporary concepts of well-being, Mark’s book attempts to show how Christians can both better communicate in secular settings as well as partner with all people regardless of their faith to seek the common good.As Mark and I will discuss, evangelism can be an often-overlooked discipline in the Christian academy, and an overlooked practice in the local church. The abundant life in Christ is not meant to be kept to ourselves, it is meant to be extended to others. I really appreciated Mark’s book and his holistic perspective, and I think you will glean a great deal from our conversation. So, thanks for leaning into this week’s New Creation Conversation. 
Welcome to episode sixty-five of New Creation Conversations. I’m excited to be joined in today’s conversation by Dr. Mark D. Baker. Mark is Professor of Mission and Theology at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary. Mark is an alum of Wheaton University, has a master’s degree from the New College for Advanced Christian Studies (Berkely) and a PhD in Theology and Ethics from Duke. Mark has written extensively in theology and ethics, but the primary focus of our conversation is his most recent book – published by IVP Academic – Centered-Set Church: Discipleship and Community Without Judgmentalism.A few years ago, I was asked to speak at the regional gathering for the Church of the Nazarene and in that message I shared an often-repeated story about an American rancher and sheepherder who got the chance to spend time with other ranchers and sheepherders in the outback of Australia and New Zealand. He noticed quickly that they didn’t have many fences keeping the herd or the flock in place. When he asked about it, the herders from down-under remarked, “We learned decades ago that if you dig really good wells the sheep and cattle won’t wander from them, and you don’t need as many fences.” In these very divisive times, both inside and outside the church, I have grown to love that simple illustration and return to it often to think about how we might work for unity within the very diverse Body of Christ. Mark’s research and writing on “Centered-Set Church” takes the beauty of that story and fills it out thoughtfully and helpfully. As readers of the book (and listeners to our conversation) will discover, the challenge to creating a “centered-set” community is not just what Mark will call “divided set” ways of identifying as a people, but also the ways “fuzzy-set” forms of identification also become problematic. It is a very helpful and timely book, and a very relevant conversation. So, thanks for leaning into this week’s New Creation Conversation. 
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store