The Reading List – May 22 – 28

First, a random note. I’m starting some of those free online courses, one on strategic management, and one on adult education. I might update about those in these courses if they’re interesting enough, or not.

1) The Christ of the Covenants by O. Palmer Robertson. A relatively old book (1980), but which nevertheless, provides a Biblical angle on reformed covenant theology. Unlike others, Robertson dislikes the use of the word ‘covenant’ to describe the pactum salutis, and in fact, uses the term ‘covenant of redemption’ to refer to what is normally referred to as the covenant of grace.
What I’ve worked out now is that Biblical evidence for a pre-fall post-creation covenant with Adam/Creation/humanity/something comes from Hos 6:7, postulated reference in Jer 33, and consistency of the Adamic administration with the writer’s definition of covenant. However, there can be some variation in what the writer actually takes to be a covenant. So, many of the early voices in this regarded the commandment regarding the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (TotKoG+E) as the stipulation of a covenant of creation/nature/works, whereas Robertson considers this as a simple test of obedience to the covenant, and that the true stipulations regarded marriage, labour, and sabbath.
What this also reveals is the various areas in which Reformed writers have interacted with their tradition in this area. Questions hang upon the ways in which the various covenants are continuous and discontinuous, important for the question of how one is to uphold it in the present day. As an OT scholar, Robertson is weak on the NT, and so it’d be good to read an NT scholar’s take on all this.

2) Transforming Worldviews: An Anthropological Understanding of How People Change by the late Paul Hiebert. People who were listening to Greg Anderson or who have otherwise done more missiological stuff may be familiar with this guy. The concern of this book is to get people to understand that Christian conversion is more than individual conversion, change in outward behaviours, and even expression of beliefs. Conversion requires bringing about change in worldviews, and thus requires understanding them. The book consists of an elaboration of these concerns, an overview of anthropological academic work on worldviews, a description of worldviews including that of modernity, postmodernity, and post-postmodernity, and then bringing it back to Christian worldviews and how to go about conversion thus. It’s a good challenge to get out of (philosophically) modern ways of thinking such as of binary, digital sets (as in sets whose categorisations are binary – yes/no) and to think in different categories. I’d already thought about this type of stuff in other subjects, but this helped to crystallise them and to give them a terminology. It’s clearly aimed at people interested in missions and missiology, but it’d be useful for anyone involved in wanting to bring people to Christ (i.e. pretty much any Christian that can handle this level of reading).

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