“Dear Luke” was a very long personal letter I wrote to one of my best friends, Luke Broderick. The letter was an explanation of my journey of becoming an ecumenical Christian.
I want to begin by telling you that you’ve been one of the most important people in my life in the last few years. Friendships do not come easy to me and ours has been one of unspeakable brotherhood, encouragement, and love. While I didn’t have an official “Best Man” at my wedding, there was a reason that you stood beside me on the most important day of my life (other than the fact that you were the tallest). While “brotherhood” as a biblical theme has become somewhat of an abstract idea in modern times, I count you as a true brother. It’s important for me to tell you this, as the other person I considered to be my brother died of cancer in February of 2010. Brotherhood conveys to me that our mutual love and respect will triumph over any circumstance. This gives me a great deal of security, knowing that I always have a friend like you to lift me up when circumstances are not ideal.
When I reflect on the draw of our friendship while we were at Lancaster Bible College, I think we both loved Jesus and yet were confused by how things were within the Christian community. I admired you, because you partook in things you enjoyed without ever having to give a moral or theological justification for it. If you wanted to listen to the Beatles, U2, Bob Marley, The White Stripes, you did. If you wanted to watch “Life Aquatic”, “Lord of the Rings” or “We Were Soldiers” you did so without ever having to claim a false, self-justification like “seeking to be culturally relevant” or “culturally engaged”. Having the maturity and courage to just be yourself in such a repressed environment helped me to navigate a world with which I was unfamiliar (that world being the Christian Bubble).
I remember you telling me the story of your grandmother’s rosary, and the pride with which you spoke of your distant Catholic heritage. I remember your excitement when you spoke about Bono, his genuine Catholic faith, and all the great work he was doing. On the other hand, I remember you showing me the movie “Luther”. At the time I didn’t understand the attraction of the movie for you. It sent me into a great fever of Protestant piety. For you it meant something more.
In Luther’s context, he challenged the ways of a corrupt institution. Out of personal conviction he put language to his protest and called others out of their participation in the corruption of his time. I wonder if for you, the movie was not so much about Catholics and Protestants, but rather a commentary on how a movement can become a stale and oppressive institution. The church as an institution needs vibrancy breathed into her regardless of what Christian tradition it is. You, my friend, have always sought to breathe vibrancy and genuineness into the faith of others. You have within you the heart of a true reformer, not as one who caricatures and eulogizes their heroes (as many of our peers have), but as one who labors toward the kingdom of Christ, and whose heart aches for the church to labor likewise.
It seems that the protestant church, and more specific to us, evangelicalism, has in some ways become such an institution. It has become an institution with as many tenants and as much dogma as the Catholic Church from which it broke away. The last time we were together we joked that the difference between Catholic and Evangelical tradition is that Evangelicals lie about the fact we have traditions, and the Catholics are at least honest about it. One of those Protestant traditions is inherent in the name. We are a long succession of protestors protesting our fellow protestors.
The answer to this great challenge which has splintered the church, literally into thousands of pieces, is not “reform”. The answer is not adherence to a “new” way, but it is an adherence to a conviction of unity.
While you and Chrissy stayed with us back in January, and while we were together in August, you spoke of being Ecumenical. I suggest to you that being ecumenical is not a conversion to a different type of Christian. I believe it to be a deeper and fuller commitment to Jesus and his purposes as demonstrated for us in the scriptures. I say this because ecumenism is a valid adherence to the teachings of the bible, and biblical authority is an important tenant of our tradition. Consider these words of Jesus:
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Jesus’ prayer here is one of the clearest places in the New Testament where the future generations of believers are addressed with such clarity. We often speak about the necessity of evangelism, but it is clear in this prayer that worldly awareness of the Son of God being sent into the world by his Father will come by virtue of how Christians love each other. Perhaps the reason that our faith has become irrelevant in what is becoming a post-Christian age is not because our message is “theologically unsound” and that we need to speak it with greater clarity. Perhaps it is the fact that our actions convey the irrelevance of our faith within our own religious community. If we cannot love those that are our own, how can we ever convey to the world that they will be loved amongst us?
Having the conviction of unity as a starting point has set me on a journey of pursuing how unity can be achieved. While the journey has been tumultuous at times, it is an endeavor that brings me peace the further I pursue it. My hope is that by sharing this with you I might give you clarity where I had to struggle for it. There have been guides on this journey that have navigated the direction I took. I’ll be sure to mention them for reference at the end of this letter.
First, I plumbed through the history of the church, East and West, to discover the larger reasons that disunity occurred. Second, I began to embrace contextualization. That is, all theology is developed within a specific time amongst a specific group of people of a specific social/political/ethnic demographic, within a specific culture, operating from specific societal convictions, asking of the bible specific questions, and constructing the answers in a specific way. Included with contextualization is acquiring eyes to see that we operate in a specific context, and we do so out of necessity to communicate to our world. By virtue of these two convictions, I embraced the practice of a generous orthodoxy. This has, at times, proven to be the most challenging. A description with such terms has a tendency to become polarized amongst personalities, emphasizing one over the other. It’s always difficult to strike a balance and hold the tension of both/and instead of either/or.
Studying and interpreting the history of the church then caused me to look at our present circumstances. I’ve had to grapple with the necessity of denominationalism. I’ve also come to believe that academic institutions are contributors to Christian disunity by training seminarians and bible college students in the ways of doctrinal distinction at the expense and disregard of Christian unity. Further still, and perhaps most tragic of all the casualties and causes of Christian faction is that the issue of racial segregation remains a reality within the American church. Indeed, Martin Luther King Juniors observation remains true: Eleven O’clock on Sunday Morning is the most segregated hour in America.
Our theology has had global ramifications as well. While, perhaps for good reason, America is becoming post-Christian, we’ve continued to export our factious religion to other countries where the battle between denominations and Catholic v. Protestant continues on.
As I read my list of new-found convictions, I realize that I have unintentionally painted a bleak picture. It is with great excitement however, that I speak of what is occurring in our time. The Church cannot be sustained in its current form. Christianity has never done well as a dominant force or presence in a society or culture. This tells me that change is a necessity and not a luxury for the Church. It also tells me that as this change comes, the Christian community in America will have to grow deeper in maturity and commitment to the Lord. Being a Christian will not be easy in the days to come, and I not only invite it, but I pray for it.
I will need to speak in generalities for the purposes of this letter, beginning with the differences of thought between the churches in the global East and West. I only hope that by being generic, I am not creating caricatures. I concede that I know far more about theology in the Western world than I do in the East, and therefore, I cannot offer much in the way of critique of Eastern theology. I only have appreciation and respect for the East when compared to the fruit of theology in the West.
The church in the West has often been characterized by trying to articulate what God is. The church in the East has sought to define what God is not rather than what he is. The differences seem subtle, but apply the distinction over the course of nearly two millennia and the result is quite striking.
I believe that this polarization was already at work early on in Christianity’s history. Take the doctrine of the Trinity for example. As the doctrine was being formulated, the Church never gave a full articulation of what the Trinity is. Rather, they have only set the parameters for what it is not (a characteristic of Eastern theology). Therefore, the more theologians sought to define the Trinity (a characteristic of Western theology), the more they ventured into heresy. I think it is for this reason that the church in the global West speaks so little of the Trinity. In our minds, that which we cannot fully express, grasp, or articulate must become unnecessary and devoid of usefulness. This can be seen by how Trinitarian theology is not central to Western theology. There is little room for high and holy mystery because we believe that the scriptures’ teachings can and must be fully understood in order for us to have a proper relationship with God. The Eastern Church believes that such pursuits in defining and encapsulating the fullness of God have led us farther away from truth, in which we begin seeking to express that which ought to remain inexpressible.
In so doing, the church in the East has preserved unity amongst its members, and a reverence for God that the West does not share. Whereas the East worships the Triune God that their theology points to, the West, at times, has believed that in mastering our articulations of who we think God is, we therefore, have in fact mastered God.
In the oversight of Church history, it can be seen that theology in the West is a contentious practice. Seeking to obtain the fullness of truth as revealed to us in scripture at every point has led us to the parting of company when at the smallest point of doctrine we deviate from our brethren.
This is not to say that doctrine is unimportant. It is not to say that doctrinal distinction is inherently bad. It is to suggest that our method of doing theology has deprived us of a great deal. It has caused us to seek further articulation of our theological constructs as a means of acquiring salvation, sanctification and a strengthened relationship with God (that is, the assumption becomes: “the more we know of God [or at least these constructs] the better our relationship with him). The further we go with our articulations however, the narrower our sphere of orthodoxy becomes. The narrower our sphere of orthodoxy becomes, the further we must distance ourselves from those who do not arrive at the same conclusions. The longer this process occurs, the more the Spirit of God is limited in his work within God’s primary means (or perhaps sole means) of reaching the world, his church.
This vicious cycle has led to a multitude of divisions and denominational distinctions. Division is a sign of great sickness within the church. You and I both see it as do many others, but the proper response isn’t always clear, and the disparity easily becomes frustration. Whereas many see the problem, few are able to step outside their theological conditioning to do something about it.
I’ll conclude my critique of Western theology with a paraphrase of what my friend, John Armstrong recently told me. Western theology, in seeking to understand God has always had an adversarial nature and a polemical agenda. That is to say, we have not been interested in unity, but only in identifying who our adversaries are, and how we can do battle with them.
We see many modern examples of this. In fact, the institution that has trained us has left a host of causalities from said approach, serving as a prime example of Christian fratricide amongst its own staff. It seems to be the consensus amongst some of us that the Protestant Reformation is as much alive today as it was in the 16th century. “There must be an adversary of biblical truth” the assumption goes; and so the modern reformer looks within their own community to identify an enemy and thereby continue the legacy of protestation. Meanwhile the church continues its war with itself while the outside world looks on with total apathy. The only thing that seems to give some churches “validity” is by how well they can express their own brand of Christianity, and how well they can distance themselves from other Christians.
Having identified the broader source of division, I ask that you consider the contextual nature of all theology. This is a truth that is easily seen when looking back at the characteristics and language of theology throughout the ages (at least for those who understand and embrace contextualization). Not everyone sees the contextual nature of theology, which is why many pastors fail to speak with relevance. Many seek to speak the language of their Protestant heroes. As one of my professors at Biblical said: “If we say what Luther said the way Luther said it, today, than we have said nothing. If we say what Calvin said the way Calvin said it, today, than we have said nothing.”
It is not so easily seen how theology is contextual in our own time however. Complicating matters further is the fundamental assumption amongst Protestants that one’s own theology is pure and devoid of influence in its development.
Think of our own interpretive training. We were taught to identify our “prejudice, presuppositions, and pre-understanding.” The inherent assumption was that by identifying these hindrances to proper interpretation we rendered ourselves pure and objective by the application of the prescribed method. We were taught that the only valid interpretation was acquired by understanding what the original author intended for the original audience to hear. The assumption became that proper interpretation by those standards were in fact attainable.
In hindsight, the Apostle Paul wound up looking more to me like a member of the Tea Party than he did a first century Jew. The agenda and the personality of the Lancaster Bible College community had been read into the scriptures and subsequently unquestioned. The reason for this comes from the faith we have in our interpretive method, which was itself created in a specific context. This method allowed for the interpreter to champion objectivity in the guise of simply “preaching the Word.”
By seeking to identify and eradicate our presuppositions about the bible, it inoculated us to the fact that that was precisely what we were doing, and by doing so we justified our prejudices. While believing that our hermeneutic was devoid of error, we failed to see how our own theology is contextual.
This harkens back to the methodology of a Western approach to theology. If we believe that by applying the hermeneutical method we have acquired the fullness of proper interpretation, we not only become arrogant in our certitude, but also unwilling to listen to those who arrive at different conclusions when applying the exact same method.
Is it not possible that the dual authorship of the bible, both equal parts of man and God, would have such depth that each generation, at the promptings of the Holy Spirit, might read, interpret, and discover that truth which governs the body of Christ in the proper direction? Has not God given us his Spirit to dwell amongst the Church? Is there any reason that we should doubt the presence of the Spirit to guide us in a deeper understanding of the scriptures beyond what we perceive to be the intentions of the original author and audience? This must be so, because every single generation of the church has done so regardless of our denial of it. It is as St. Augustine once said:
In this diversity of true views, may truth itself engender concord, and may our God have mercy upon us that we may ‘use the law lawfully’, for the ‘end of the precept, pure love’ (1 Tim. 1:8,5)… And if anyone sees a third or fourth and a further truth in these words, why not believe that Moses discerned all these things? For through him the one God has tempered the sacred books to the interpretation of many who could come to see a diversity of truths (270-71).
Augustine goes on to say that if a man has an interpretation that is not what has been intended by the original author, it is not invalidated so long as it leads one to do the work of Christ; namely, “love the Lord your God… and love your neighbor as yourself.”
So in this way our theology is contextual, but for those who have failed to see what is inherent in their understanding of the gospel, the exportation of our theology to the global South and East has revealed our flaws to the detriment of those upon whom we have imposed it. Listen to the words of Lesslie Newbegin, a missionary to India:
I couldn’t help being horrified by the sort of relation that seems to exist between the missionaries and the people. It seems so utterly remote from the New Testament. […] We drive up like lords in a car, soaking everybody else with mud on the way, and then carry on a sort of inspection, finding all the faults we can, putting everyone through their paces. They all sort of stand at attention and say ‘Sir’. It’s awful. […] But one thing is as sure as death: surely they won’t stand this sort of thing from the white man much longer (6).
Has this similar technique not been the ploy of the Western Gospel equation? Our gospel at times has been preoccupied with personal conversion and has defined sin as an introspective lack of piety. By this definition, our approach has been one in which we seek to show our audience how awful they are and/or identify whatever is keeping them from fulfillment. Identify this flaw or need and it is only a matter of selling them the cure (Jesus) to convert them.
Consider this quote I recently read on Facebook of a presentation of the gospel:
I was praying for those this morning who are in desperate need of Jesus in their life. They need Jesus to rescue them from their bondage, their hurt, their pain. He is the only answer and the only one who can heal and rescue you. Call out to Him, cry out to Him, He will hear, He will heal, He can save.
The same equation is present. Find the hurt, find the need, and insert/sell Jesus as the cure. This equation has worked in the West, but we have confused our method with the gospel itself. Because of this, in our missionary efforts, we had to teach the native people to “see” the same need of an imposed shame and our “God-shaped holes” before they could hear our gospel. The missionaries of our tradition had to make the native peoples good Americans before they could become good Christians.
Beside the formula of our Gospel having consequences, there were other addendums to the New Testament narrative that have left hideous scars by their outer workings. Take for example the words of Bishop Desmond Tutu who said:
“When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”
The way in which such things have taken place are subtle, but they were all somehow theologically justified in their implementation. Unconsciously, they are attachments to the Western Gospel. The truth is our Gospel has at times brought about the horrors of apartheid and colonialism. Our paternalistic insistence has generated the conditions which the Good News of Christ was sent into the world to alleviate. As Newbegin explains:
It was therefore with good intention that missionaries in South Africa insisted that African Christians should be able to organize their churches and conduct their worship in their own traditional ways and using their own languages. But when this good provision was given an absolute status as part of the order of creation, not subject to Christ, it became the demonic power of apartheid (44).
Brian McLaren, in his book “Everything Must Change”, reveals how this remains a reality. McLaren was invited to Rwanda shortly after the genocide. While there, he gathered dozens of clergy into one room. He tells the story of an infuriated medical worker who accused all of the clergy of being contributors to the plight of the African people. His point was that in their preaching of “get saved, abstain from sex, and tithe,” consequences ensued. They had generated apathy amongst the people, heightened the AIDS epidemic, and had given the people false hope; that by giving financially to the ministries of the clergy the people would in turn receive a blessing. The medical worker was not speaking as one who lobs grenades from outside. He was himself a Charismatic Christian who could see the further consequences of the clergies’ message.
My point is this: looking back through history we can see how others have done theology in context based on the language they used to express their faith in their cultural and historical settings. We can see the contextualization of our theology when we have imposed it upon other people who did not share the same historical setting in which our theology was developed. When imposed on an environment foreign to the culture in which it was created, the Good News, at times, became anything but.
Having made the case for contextualization, a question remains:
What then is left as a standard for Orthodoxy under which the diverse body of Christ can unite?
As we had discussed that rainy morning beside the lake:
In the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. – Vincent of Lerins
Or, as Bart Simpson said on an episode in which he and his father Homer, convert to Catholicism:
It’s all Christianity, people. The little, stupid differences are nothing next to the big, stupid similarities.
What I am proposing is not a “theological jambalaya” in which all theological positions are blended together. It is not a concession to “agree to disagree”. It is rather, a conviction that disunity amongst the body is the greatest plague on the church. It goes on to distinguish between the following: orthodoxy (That faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all); doctrine (Those teachings which are inherently biblical yet, are in tension with other biblical themes. The interpretation of which leads to theological polarity [Orthodoxy v. Catholicism – Catholicism v. Protestantism – Presbyterian v. Baptist – Calvin v. Armenian]); and preference (The personality of a denomination and how they orchestrate worship, commune, function [dress up or dress down for church? – Hymns v. Choruses, etc]).
The analogy works best in the form of three concentric circles, having orthodoxy as its center, doctrine as its middle circle, and preference on the outside. In our tradition, this circle is much like a toilet in which everything is flushed to the center. Everything becomes a critical matter of orthodoxy.
In this model, the definition of orthodoxy becomes narrow and the label of “heresy” becomes increasingly abused. It becomes not only a right but a duty to dismiss those from your fold who do not share the same convictions. In this clever way, we are no longer obligated to demonstrate love to our brethren who have stepped outside these narrowed parameters of orthodoxy because we can then question whether or not they are in fact our brothers and sisters. The thinking goes “Because we have identified the ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ or the ‘cancer’, we must excommunicate them from our fellowship for the betterment of the community as a whole. After all, doctrine divides.”
The most recent example of this was the fiasco over Rob Bell’s promotional video for his book “Love Wins” and John Piper’s tweet “Farewell Rob Bell”. Bell was deemed a heretic in many evangelical circles (before his book was even released). This demonstrates ignorance on the part of those who would make such claims of the church’s historical definitions of heresy, heterodoxy, and orthodoxy. Do I agree with all that Rob Bell puts forth? No. Is Rob Bell a heretic? No. Why? Because he has not denied those central things which the church has believed to be historically Christian.
What is truly taking place is a sophisticated form of high school exclusion. Jocks, Preps, Goths, Dorks, Dweebs, Bandies, all have their corner of the cafeteria. Assimilation into these groups requires that one takes on the personality and appearance of the clique. To push the illustration further, it seems that alienation and loneliness somehow pervade these groups which exist to generate a sense of belonging. Peer validation for identity becomes contingent upon one’s adherence to the community’s expectations, which within the church of our tradition can ebb, flow, and grow. This is how the conviction of unity becomes twisted. Unity should be a goal which all churches labor toward collectively. Instead, scriptural unity becomes interpreted as only being applicable to the church which we are currently attending. Unity with such a narrow focus is concerned with whether or not its members are “towing the line”.
All this to say: I recognize that denominations are necessary. Diversity is necessary in order for the rich depths of the scriptures to be obtained. Consider the atonement. Every major sect of Christianity has a very different take on the atonement. The paradigm with which they construct their theory causes them to interpret all of the Biblical Narrative through that one atonement theory. Considering Scot McKnight’s book “A Community Called Atonement”, the multitude of atonement theories are all biblically valid. All of them are necessary in order for a complete grasp of the New Testament teaching, yet all of them are personally claimed as the totality of New Testament truth and therefore in opposition with the others. McKnight’s contention is that atonement theories are like golf clubs. We can play a round of golf with one club, but we’d do much better to have all of the “atonement” clubs in our theological golf bags. Doctrinal distinction allows us, at times, to acquire a better understanding of the bible so long as doctrinal distinction is tempered by the conviction of biblical unity.
Other times, diversity is necessary for the simple fact that denominations have areas of strength where other denominations are weak, and vice versa. Striving toward ecumenism does not infer the dissolving of all church distinction. Diversity is not the antonym of unity. Unity must become a priority for the vibrancy of the church. The church as it is exists as a free enterprise. Churches are in competition with each other for the same people and resources to accomplish the same task much like businesses compete for profit and customers.
Allow me to illustrate my point through my work in the non-profit world. If another rogue mentoring agency springs up, Big Brothers Big Sisters is now in competition for the same mentors and the same grant money. The rogue agency believes that they can do it better and fix the problem faster than the established agency. Even though Big Brothers Big Sisters has been doing what it does for more than 100 years, even though it is an evidence based program with the federal studies to demonstrate the reasons for its success, there are still others who, as you said the last time we met, want to build their “own little kingdoms”. More so than anything else these “little kingdoms” are the greatest threat to the overall good that is being accomplished through the Big Brothers Big Sisters agency.
In the same way, countless non-denomination denominations have sprung up to wage capitalistic warfare with their neighboring churches. The thinking goes that these autonomous personalities embody fully the needs of the church in America. Their summons is one of “abandon your ship to board ours.” As you’ve expressed many times over “the last thing we need are more churches.”
Therein lays the answer. While the bride of Christ in our experience may be sick, she is not dead. My journey has been one of trying to understand how we got this way, and this is what I have attempted to share with you in this letter. It is division that has made us weak. It is unity within the body that will lead us into health. We may never resolve all of our cognitive differences, but we must move in step toward that prayer which Christ offered: That God’s “will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. The church will continue to look different in different areas at different times, but together, we can labor toward that same Kingdom.
I’d just like to leave you with a brief description of how these convictions came to pass, and how I intend to implement them in the future. Biblical Seminary has helped me put language to what I felt to be inexpressible frustration. By putting language to my frustration, they have helped me to mature rather than leaving me in my bitterness. One of the first things I learned was the concentric circles of orthodoxy. Almost one year later, I took a class entitled “The Practice of Generous Orthodoxy” which I have drawn from heavily. Perhaps most important to my story is not what I learned in that class, but with whom I became familiarized.
It was during that class that I was exposed to John Armstrong’s book, “Your Church is Too Small,” which I have included in this letter. I then had the opportunity to meet John in December of 2010. By coincidence or providence, John sat at our table before class had begun, and I had the opportunity to share how life changing his book was for me. Since that time, John has taken on the role of both teacher and mentor. Most, if not all of this letter is a direct result of his influence.
While our generation has, for some reason, learned to distrust the term “Missional”, understanding the history of this movement has been key in the development of my ecumenical conviction. Lesslie Newbegin, who I’ve quoted above, was a missionary who recognized that the same methods missionaries use to understand the culture they’re serving must be used to convey and employ the Good News of Jesus in our setting. Another helpful tool in tracking the progression of missionary thought was a man named David J. Bosch who wrote “Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission”. This was another reading assigned to me by Armstrong, and it afforded me an understanding of what the global dialogue amongst the church in mission has been like in past decades. To make a concise statement of a long book, Bosch has tracked the inherent assumptions within our theology as it could be seen in practice on the missionary field. If we ever want to understand how broken our assumptions are, such a guide is necessary for understanding the trajectory of our future.
Much like Newbegin, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was an Evangelical who was committed to ecumenism. Sadly, his ambition of starting a community of seminarians was cut short by the Nazi régime. That same ambition has become the vision I recently told you about, solidified by having read his “Life Together” prayer book. I’d like to begin an institute where community is fostered because becoming like Christ is not a solitary pursuit. When comparing the financial costs of a theological education with the number of those graduates who stay in full time ministry, the price seems almost immoral. Institutions send the next generation of ministers into tens of thousands, if not over one hundred thousand dollars of debt, taxing their families emotionally, generating unhealthy attitudes of workaholism, and leaving them relatively unprepared to minster in the day and age we live in. If an institute existed where one could receive an education, remain and minster in one’s own community and within one’s local church and tradition, as well as being connected to the larger local Catholic Church (all while refraining from great amounts of debt), then perhaps the next generation of clergy will be adequately prepared. Lancaster city is such an interesting microcosm of possibility that such a vision could potentially become a reality and model for future generations.
I am sharing all of this with you because if this conviction remains mine alone, then I am creating nothing more than my “own little kingdom.” This vision, having been instilled in me by other Godly people, is far too important to be owned by any one person. For this reason, I have written this letter, to invite you to join me on this same journey. It is not a journey that deviates from our pursuit of Christ, rather it only points with greater clarity toward the goal. I love you brother, and I’m glad to be journeying with you.
This includes books quoted, as well as resources
Armstrong, John H. Your Church Is Too Small: Why Unity in Christ’s Mission Is Vital to the Future of the Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009. Print.
Augustine, and Henry Chadwick. Confessions. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1991. Print.
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, Geffrey B. Kelly, Daniel W. Bloesch, James H. Burtness, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Life Together ; Prayerbook of the Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996. Print.
Bosch, David Jacobus. Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1991. Print.
Foster, Richard J., and James Bryan. Smith. Devotional Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups. [San Francisco]: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993. Print.
McKnight, Scot. A Community Called Atonement. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2007. Print.
Newbigin, Lesslie, and Geoffrey Wainwright. Signs amid the Rubble: the Purposes of God in Human History. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 2003. Print.
Newbigin, Lesslie, and Paul Weston. Lesslie Newbigin: Missionary Theologian : a Reader. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 2006. Print.
Newbigin, Lesslie. The Gospel in a Pluralist Society. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1989. Print.
Newbigin, Lesslie. The Open Secret an Introduction to the Theology of Mission. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1995. Print.
Payton, James R. Light from the Christian East: an Introduction to the Orthodox Tradition. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2007. Print.