Here are some excellent theology* books that will be released this month:
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Denominations are one of the primary ways in which Christians attempt to live in a community based around God. Yet there is very little careful theological analysis of denomination available today.
Between Congregation and Church offers a constructive theological understanding of denomination, showing its role as an intermediary structure between congregation and church. It places denomination and other intermediary structures within the doctrine of the church. Barry Ensign-George reviews work by theologians and church historians that can contribute to a constructive theological understanding of denomination. The book highlights particular developments in the history of the church that established preconditions for the emergence of denomination. Exploration of unity and diversity is central to this analysis, and individual chapters offer theological analyses of the unity and the diversity to which the Christians are called. Finally, denomination has often been a vehicle for sin, and the relationship between denomination and sin is considered.
Between Congregation and Church addresses a major gap in contemporary theology: the failure to offer substantive theological analysis of denomination, a major way Christians together live their faith today.
Missional ethics is concerned with the way in which the believing community’s behavior is, in and of itself, a witness to the wisdom and goodness of God. The debate surrounding the relationship between word and deed, or evangelism and social action, remains a significant issue within evangelical missiology. Martin Salter seeks to address one aspect of that debate – namely, the missional significance of ethics – by conducting detailed exegesis of key biblical texts. He argues that biblical ethics is neither entirely separate from, nor merely preparatory for, mission – rather, it is an integral part of the church’s mission. Missional ethics is a theme that arises from the biblical texts and is not imposed on them. The church as both organism and institution embody a missional ethic that includes worship, justice, and charity. Word and deed belong together as an integral whole. Salter’s valuable study concludes by offering a definition of missional ethics.
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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com