Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Dear Friends,

The "Faith-And" Trilogy has been completed. These books were written with the goal of developing confidence for Christians to walk by faith in Christ. In the first book, Faith That Sees In the Culture, we conduct a survey of biblical dualities and paradoxes to bring clarity to the relationship between faith in Jesus Christ and our lives in relation to the world. In this volume we peer through the lenses of biblical dualities for perfect acuity to see who we are, where we live, when we live, and to whom we speak (just to name some of the dualities). When understanding is grasped in these areas, it is easier to live out faith in the culture.

The second volume Faith That Enages the Culture considers the important task of evangelization but in such a way as to leave programming and marketing devices behind. The emphasis is genuine relational engagement with people while prioitizing the love of Christ when sharing the faith with anyone we might speak to. In this volume I introduce what I refer to as "the engagement triangle," that leads us to a biblical outline for effectively engaging people with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. We begin with Perspective as especially laid out in 1 Peter 3:15, then continue with People and how we connect as taught in 1 Corinthians 9:22, and then finish the triangle with Place as we examine how our unique envirnoment in the culture might serve as a bridge for better communicaton taking St. Paul's example in the Areopagus in Athens, Greece as recorded in Acts 17.

In the third and final book of the series Faith That Shines In the Culture we fortify Christians for celebrating how God shines His light in our everyday vocations/callings in the world since the light of Christ shines upon us through His powerful Word and Sacraments. We step back to consider our daily vocations within the three estates in our lives established by God: the family, the church (local congregations), and the state (the greater society). These are to serve each other and responsible Christian citizenship is to treat all three as both secular and spiritual (sacred). When we do so, we learn to apply the fourth estate which is estate of Christian love (agape sacrificial service) in and through all our calls in the three estates. Here, Christ serves others in and through Christians and we are saved from the temptation to treat our callings as drugery.

Please help me spread the word about the "Faith-And" series.

In Your Service and To Christ's Glory,

Rev. Alfonso Espinosa, Ph.D.

Dear Friends,

Language of course is always in flux and evolving. Case and point is in respect to the word "Christian." The word has taken on a host of possible definitions:

1. It might be held as a synonym for "theism," the belief in a personal God.

2. It might also be used as a word for someone striving for moral integrity and who reveres the ethical teachings of Jesus Christ.

3. It might be a synoymn for civic nationalism especially in the United States, sometimes referred to as a "Christian" nation.

4. It might also be used as another way of claiming to be religious with leanings towards the Holy Bible.

5. It might be a catch-all category for anyone attending a local congregation of a major denomination within Christianity (even if that congregation identifies itself as "non-denominational"). That is, here -- while the actual Christian faith might be offered therein -- there is no guarantee that the attendee actually holds to the Christian faith, but will nevertheless identity him or herself as "Christian."

None of these match historical and orthodox Christianity. That worldview and religious system which rests on the authority of the Sacred Scriptures/the Holy Bible while confessing the divine inspiration and inerrant integrity of its objective truth. Namely, the revelation that the Lord Jesus Christ is the very Son of God -- truly God and truly man -- who lived, was crucified, died, rose from death, and ascended to heaven to lead His Church on earth to know the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and liberation from the power of darkness and the devil. 

In this short volume "A Biblical Response to Liberal Christianity," I discuss the effort of our post-modern culture to distort the meaning of the orthodox Christianity ever since the 17th and 18th century Enlightenment. This movement here dubbed as "liberal" (though the word itself in its original form was in no way derogatory) reflects the particular movement to water down orthodox Christianity and reducing it to sheer subjectivism, relativism, and devoid of the power of God.

The volume is available through Concordia Publishing House.

In Your Service and To Christ's Glory,

Rev. Alfonso Espinosa, Ph.D.