anvil is an evangelical anglican journal of theology and mission that has been revamped and made digital and free and at CMS we are very much seeing it as a mission journal into the future.
The second edition is now online and is basically a response to Steve Bevans wonderful book Introduction to Theology in Global Perpsective which I review here and which is s core text for our module for second year’s next term on theology. It’s the best book I can think of that articulates what an approach to theology should be in today’s world.
Anyway all that by way of saying it’s a really good edition of anvil. I think this could prove to be an exciting journal in an ongoing way. Steve Bevans reflects looking back at the book and what he has attempted to achieve in a brilliant reflection. The Ephesian Moment is a term from missiologist Andrew Walls. Here’s how Steve describes it in the article
our globalized church today is in situation in which it had only been once before, in the community of Greeks and Jews in Ephesus. There in Ephesus, Christians of two very different cultures could have formed two separate churches, but they did not. Christ was the peace that tore down the wall between them, and they became not two, but one (See Eph. 2:14-22), and in that give and take they caught a glimpse of the whole Christ. Neither, says Walls, ‘was a form of Christian faith complete and valid in itself, apart from the other. Each was necessary to the other, each was necessary to complete and correct the other; for each was an expression of Christ under certain specific conditions, and Christ is humanity completed.’ Now that ‘Ephesian moment’ has come again. Today, ‘new Christian lifestyles…have developed or are developing under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to display Christ under the conditions of African, Indian, Chinese, Korean, and Latin American life.’ The Ephesian moment demands a global theology.
In other words we only see who Christ is as we see Christ’s many faces and theologies and embodiments in his body represented around the world. This is a bit of CMS jargon and something of an internal joke at times. So i blame Steve’s time with CMS a while back for him picking up on this! But it is an exciting idea. He concludes his piece by saying
We need a theology adequate to the Ephesian Moment in which we find ourselves in today’s world, and we need a theological education that helps students who will minister in a church that, for the first time in history, is conscious of the fact that Christianity truly is a world movement.
Timothy Tennant has a piece on theological translatability – again this is essentially arguing that we need to become conversant with other theologies especially from the majority world, that we need to realise our own is partial and not universal and that if we are open to it a global exchange will highlight our own heresies and blind spots!
Atola Longkumer reflects on partnership’s opportunities and challenges in another really good piece –
Globalization, the growing divide between the rich and the poor, human rights abuses, fundamentalism, violence, secularism, environmental degradation, and migration are some of the challenges that require creative and healing attention. The global Christian community must respond in unison by transforming the world into a better place — the Kingdom of God. Despite the vastly different contexts with a variety of challenges, Christians around the world are called to be partners in building God’s Kingdom, speaking the truth in love and witnessing together to the Gospel. And in the partnership between Christians of the global south and the global north in carrying out our missional task of witnessing to the fullness of the life in Christ, may we heed the directions of the mission scholar Cathy Ross who has perceptively given the ingredients for a productive and fulfilling partnership: mutual trust, acceptance of responsibilities and willingness to take risks among the partners.
There is also an interview with Miroslav Volf, a tribute to John Stott and a poem by Rowan Williams.
Congratulations to the editorial team – this really looks set to become a good online journal. I haven’t added hyperlinks to articles because you need to register and login to read them – it is free which is also amazing judging by the price of most academic journals!