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Summer 2012

Current Theme

Twenty-first Century Challenges to the Gospel

Statement regarding the Summer 2012 Cover

The world gets smaller every day. Advances in technology make communication across great distances instantaneous. Increasing access to education exposes people to a variety of religions, worldviews, and ideologies. And immigration across national boundaries brings people from very different cultures into close proximity with one another.

As the world gets smaller, Christians must face new ideas that challenge their understanding of God and His purposes for humanity. The summer 2012 issue of Enrichment examines some of those ideas, especially ones that challenge core elements of the gospel. Its theme is “Twenty-first Century Challenges to the Gospel.”

Craig Keener kicks off the issue by using John 3:16 to explain what the gospel is. Other authors reply to specific challenges to the gospel: atheism (Paul Copan), Calvinism (Roger Olson), rationalistic critiques of the Atonement (Frank Macchia), annihilationalism (Jim Railey), universalism (George Paul Wood), Buddhism (Alan Johnson), Islam (Joseph Cumming), pluralism (Ivan Satyavarata), and indifference to personal evangelism (Randy Hurst). George O. Wood concludes the issue with reflections on the practical importance of sound theology.

This issue will inform you about challenges to the gospel and equip you to respond to them in a biblical way.

 

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Theme Articles

INTRODUCTION

21st-Century Challenges to the Gospel

George Paul Wood

The Gospel According to John 3:16

Craig Keener

We often quote John 3:16 without considering what it teaches about salvation. If we want to fully understand this verse, we must hear it the way John’s first audience heard it — in the context of the rest of John’s Gospel.

Is the Old Testament God Evil?

Paul Copan

New Atheists question God's goodness by raising abundant complaints about Old Testament ethics. Their assertions present a lopsided picture of Yahweh's character.

Is God’s Love Limited to the Elect? Rebutting a Calvinist Challenge to the Gospel

Roger E. Olson

The doctrine of limited atonement is probably the most hotly debated of the five points of Calvinism among evangelicals. It is also Calvinism’s Achilles’ heel; without it the other points fall.

Is the Atonement Divine Child Abuse? A Response to Nonviolent Atonement Theories

Frank D. Macchia

The one-sided and distorted emphasis on the cross as the appeasement of the Father’s violent wrath toward humanity has come under fire. We need to address this genuine distortion.

Is Jesus Christ the Son of God? Responding to the Muslim View of Jesus

Joseph Cumming

The more you equip your congregation to understand sound doctrine about the person of Christ, the more you will have equipped them to respond faithfully to questions raised by their Muslim friends.

What’s So Special About Jesus? Responding to the Challenge of Religious Pluralism

Ivan Satyavrata

In the midst of a society that is increasingly multireligious and culturally diverse, what should the Christian posture be toward the diverse faiths of our neighbors?

Once Saved, Always Saved?

Waldemar Kowalski

A number of present-day teachers eloquently propose that once you have gained salvation, you cannot lose it. Does Scripture clearly refute this position?

Ultimate Liberation: Responding to the Buddhist View of Salvation

Alan R. Johnson

Because of the rising prominence of Eastern religions in mainstream popular culture, Christians need to understand Buddhism as it relates to practical approaches to sharing their faith.

Is Hell Forever? The Challenge of Annihilationism/Conditional Immortality

James H. Railey, Jr.

While we might debate the precise nature of hell — literal fire, literal darkness, or figurative torment — the eternal nature of human destiny is clear.

Love and Hell: A Reply to Rob Bell

George Paul Wood

Does God’s loving nature mean everyone will ultimately be forgiven and saved? Apparently, one popular author thinks so.

How Will They Hear? The Challenge of Nonevangelism

Randy Hurst

It is a reasonable goal for people to share their faith with a few people a year. If it is reasonable, why don’t more Christians do it?

Interview - The Next Generation

David Kinnaman

Kinnaman discusses how the church should find new ways to minister to the Mosaic Generation and challenge them in wholehearted pursuit of Christ.

IN CLOSING

A Spring Break to Remember

Rick Knoth

From the General Superintendent

Interview - The Spiritual and Practical Importance of Sound Theology

George O. Wood

While the specific nature of the challenges the gospel faces changes from generation to generation, the fact there are challenges and the need for spiritual discernment stay the same.

Column Articles

In Context

The Family of Jesus (PDF)

Marc Turnage

Dealing With Doubters

Is God Just a Psychological Crutch for the Weak?

Paul Copan

ON PREACHING…

Bullet, Not Buckshot

Doug Green

LEAD LONG…LEAD STRONG

Has Your Wall Become a Fence?

Scott Hagan

MANAGING THE MAYHEM OF MINISTRY

Improving the Part of Your Ministry You Cannot See or Hear

Cal LeMon

MOVING LEADERS FORWARD

Building Trust With Your Team

Glenn Reynolds

CONNECTED

Five Ways to Build a Professional Ministry Network (Without Losing Your Soul)

Justin Lathrop

MINISTRY & MEDICAL ETHICS

Treating the Whole Person: Spirituality in Medicine

Christina M.H. Powell

Church, Clergy & Law

Lessons From the Penn State Scandal

Richard R. Hammar

Q&A for Ministry Wives

Not Accepted

Gabriele Rienas

 

departments

  • Book Reviews
  • News and Resources
  • With Christ
  • Advertising Index

 

Next Time in Enrichment:

Faith and Science:
Interpreting God’s Word and God’s World

The fall 2012 issue of Enrichment will address various aspects of the often-tense relationship between faith and science in Western culture. This issue will feature articles by three prominent Christian scientists about the biblical and scientific evidence for the age of the earth. These articles with rebuttals will illuminate basic issues in the faith-science debate. Other articles will address models for understanding the relationship of faith and science, how Pentecostal scientists integrate their faith with their scientific profession, how to minister in a scientifically literate culture, and how to respond to New Atheist misuses of science. Read compelling articles by Paul Copan, William Lane Craig, Gregory A. Gannsle, Timothy J. McGrew, Christina M.H. Powell, Hugh Ross, Mike Tenneson, Amos Yong, Davis A. Young, Kurt P. Wise, and George O. Wood.

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