Jeff Haanen

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Theology

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Theology

Made in the Image of the Maker

Dorothy Sayers, one of the 20th century’s most profound thinkers on the topic of theology and work, once wrote: “Man is a maker, who makes things because he wants to, because he cannot fulfill his true nature if he is prevented from making things for the love of the job. He is made in the image of the Maker, and he himself must create or become something less than man.”

We are made in the image of God the Creator, and we share a creative impulse, the desire to work and ‘make things,’ with God himself.

Most theologies of work tend to focus on  the three “e”s: excellence, ethics, and evangelism. But the heart of work is not any of these: it is creativity. At least that’s what I argue in a recent sermon at my friend Mike Wright’s church in Littleton. Here’s a link to my sermon.

PoliticsTheology

Strangers Next Door

ImageWhat’s the best mission strategy to reach the nations for Christ? J.D. Payne, a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says your best bet is to reach migrants. I recently reviewed his book Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration and Mission for the October print issue of Christianity Today. Here’s an excerpt:

David Boyd, a pastor from the suburbs of Sydney, sat on the floor of a smoke-filled room in rural Nepal, and spoke to the village elders through his interpreter and friend Gam. Peppered with questions about the “Jesus way,” he marveled at the opportunity to share the gospel with this unreached people group, a privilege denied to previous missionaries. How was this unlikely door opened? It wasn’t through a short-term missions trip or a Western missionary, but through Gam, a Nepalese migrant who became a Christian at Boyd’s church in Sydney.

J. D. Payne, professor of evangelism at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wants to show the West that God is orchestrating the movements of migrants like Gam to help fulfill the Great Commission. Whereas other recent books about immigration have focused on political or ethical debates, Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration, and Mission (InterVarsity) instead seeks to educate Westerners about the tidal wave of migrants coming to the West, and so challenge them to reach one of the world’s most important (and overlooked) mission fields.

The statistics of migration alone are enough to give pause for reflection…(more)

Theology

Book Review of Forsaken: The Trinity and the Cross, and Why It Matters

I recently published a short book review in Christianity Today of Thomas McCall’s Forsaken: The Trinity and the Cross, and Why It Matters (IVP Academic).

ImageJesus’ lonely cry on the cross—”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”—has bewildered Christians for centuries. Does this mean the Trinity was broken at Calvary? Or worse, did God kill his own Son? Tackling tough topics ranging from determinism to divine wrath, Thomas McCall denounces contemporary theologies that pit God against God in favor of solidly biblical and Trinitarian views of the Atonement. As a collection of systematic theology essays, the book doesn’t dazzle, but its brevity, clarity, and balanced perspective make Forsaken worth reading.

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