Usually, when I find a cool review or interesting article, I might post it at facebook or tweet or re-tweet it.
This little video clip, though, is so wonderful, I’m putting it here on the BookNotes site. But first, some explanation and book talk.
This clip is a joy to watch for several reasons. Firstly, it shows the smiling faces of a bunch of folks I know, a few I count as friends. Many BookNotes fans will recognize them. They are all authors of InterVarsity Press, still my favorite publisher, whose books are consistently interesting, well-done, thoughtful and usually quite solid. IVP authors often are younger than many who write for religious presses, and they are delightfully multi-ethinic. And smart. And passionate. If you want to hear the voices and see the faces of friends like Andy Crouch and Brenda Psalter McNeil and Greg Jao and Jim Belcher and Becky Pippert and Dan Chou of Veritas Forum; if you’d like to quickly meet Albert Hsu or Word Made Flesh founder Chris Heuertz and our pal Leroy Barber of Mission Year or Tyler Wigg Stevenson, who isn’t an IVP author yet, but is working on an important book on peacemaking which they will release, please (please) check this out. To see authors who are happy about their publisher is a joy, too, I must say. We who love books owe ’em a tip o the hat!
Importantly, they are sending their greetings from the historic Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation in Capetown, South Africa. If you don’t know Lausanne, you should; it is a global movement, started at a truly historic 1974 gathering in the famed Swiss city to help evangelicals hammer out issues pertaining to world missions. It was stunning in its international scope, with leadership offered from every corner of the globe, inspired in part by the trusted reputation of Billy Graham. Particularly important was the effort to describe the exact relationship between verbal proclamation of the gospel and the deeds of justice, care, and solidarity that must accompany any incarnational explanation of the good news of the Kingdom.
John Stott’s little book Christian Mission in the Modern World (IVP; $8.00) is still a classic,
one that goes a long way towards a reliable approach to this question. Stott, as a young man, had been involved in the World Council of Church’s famous Fourth Assembly in Uppsala, so he has been in the thick of this conversation about “renewal in mission” all of his adult life. Then, he gave the opening address at the first Lausanne Congress, laying out the basics of what became this book! I still appreciate his clear-headed, theologically solid teaching in Christian Mission… including a section that reminds us that God equips all folks to live out their faith in distinctive ways, even in the marketplace and work-world, taking up their callings and careers as mini-mission fields. I think much of our vision here at Hearts & Minds (see the post I did about vocation and calling earlier in the week) goes back to truths which captured my heart in the late 70s as forward-thinking evangelical friends were reading Stott, and others who were deeply engaged in this question of the relationship between word and deed, of faith and life, of Sunday and Monday, of evangelism and justice. And hearing the voices of strong brothers and sisters from throughout the whole wide world. Imagine!
This recently re-issued edition has a new forward by Ajith Fernando, itself a moving testimony to how these words impacted the now-famous Sri Lankan leader, as he heard and read them as a young man. Ajith himself has, I’d bet, had an impact on many of the authors on the cheery video, so the influences continue. And, I might add, many of these great communicators have been at our Pittsburgh Jubilee conference, too, year after year.
Another excellent book that we recommend that continues this good conversation (a conversation that shapes and shows the significance of the new Tim Keller book I raved about in last night’s post, Generous Justice, by the way) is Ronald J.
Sider’s Good News and Good Works: A Theology of the Whole Gospel (Baker; $20.00.) I do not know if Ron is at Lausanne this year, but his quiet leadership in those circles, insisting on a solidly Biblical wholistic approach—word and deed, not compromising on either!—has been vital. (Ron, too, like Stott before him, has also participated in WCC events.) The various working groups in the Lausanne movement have done good work on all manner of social reform, and Sider has kept abreast of much of it. This book is a gold-mine of insight, a book both standing in the grand tradition of thoughtful, incarnational, wholistic, Christ-centered, world mission, perhaps adding a touch of his particular Mennonite insights (As a Presbyterian, though, I think this Kingdom vision stuff is absolutely spot on!) His teaching about the way in which the Biblical language of the Kingdom of God is essential to get at proper understanding and practice of either evangelism or social action is excellent; again, it is solid and helpful and could be an inspiring corrective to the weaknesses of the “social gospel” or the “individual gospel” approaches that still deform much Christian witness in the world. Today’s contemporary and hip missional leaders stand on shoulders, I’d say and this is an essential book for those attempting to live out faith in deep and faithful ways.
And so, with so many great resources reminding us that there is a world to reach, a variety of ways to witness to the redemptive work of Christ, and a call to think hard about the future of world evangelism, we invite you to join us in prayer and hope for the Lausanne Cape Town 2010 Congress.
And for publishers like InterVarsity Press who promote authors of international scope and evangelical substance.
Please, say hello to a few of our friends and a couple of our heroes, writers, thinkers, book-lovers all.