Sergiu M. Brădean

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Stephen Seamands, Wounds That Heal, (IVP Books, 2003)

In one of the churches I minister, there is this 91 years old Elder. He is considered very spiritual and trustworthy. But he had gone through very rough times in his life. Reading Dr. Seamands book I remembered his story. In 1989 in December before the anti-Communist Revolution, he had three of his girls (he had 5 girls and 3 boys) in Timisoara (the city where the Revolution started); the older daughter, the second one and the youngest. The first two were working and the youngest just started her college (October 1st that year). The Revolution started on Saturday December 16, and on Sunday night, on the way home from the church, this three girls decided to pass by the place where most of the people from the revolution were, to see what was going on there. That day the shooting started and continued through the night, but people gathered very fast in the National Opera Plaza. So, going through a park, close to the hot spot of the revolution, holding hands, with the youngest in the middle, a sniper shot both older girls. The youngest saw her two sisters from her sides falling down almost instantly. People gathered around her, took her from there and the bodies of the shot girls disappeared. After a weak, after the Communism was abolished, the family was able to find only one of the dead girls. Apparently she didn’t die in the park, but was executed in the head in the hospital. They couldn’t find the other one because the communist authorities, in order to hide the crimes, sent 200 bodies to Bucharest to be cremated. All this, left a big pain in the entire family but mostly in this father’s heart. He was angry with God for many years after this los though continuing to do ministry. Then, something happened: he talks about a vision, in which he met God, the Father. In this vision he asked God why he had to go through that pain and he asked for healing from his pain. But God told him that He suffered too; He saw his Son being killed too; and when he is in pain he should look to the Cross, and to Christ’s wounds, because He bore his suffering on the cross too. This elder witnesses that from the moment, he realized Christ suffered and the Father suffered with Him, his pain was gone. This is the thesis of Dr. Seamand’s book too. Christ bore our hurts on the Cross in order that we would be healed. (more…)

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David W. Henderson, Culture Shift, (Baker Books, 1998)

O carte care deschide ochii cititorului spre schimbările radicale produse în cultura americană (dar nu numai), pe care o recomand ca o lectură agreabilă dar și provocatoare.

Întrebarea mea este cum am descrie schimbările culturii noastre – de la Miorița și Baltagul la Florin Salam, Vali Vijelie și Adi Minune. Sau (dar fără a pune pe același loc cu cultura seculară) ar trebui să ne întrebăm care sunt schimbările culturii bisericești – de la Teoctist la Daniel sau de la Paul Dan la Cristi Barbosu … În plus, cum s-a schimbat predicarea, propovăduirea adevărului în ultima vreme, în lumina celorlalte schimbări?

03172014581It is clear that all around us there is a shifting from what we as a community considered to be safe, to something that the individual considers to be safe. The culture of the entire world is changing but the culture of the Church as a divine organization does not change; the world’s thinking changes but the Gospel does not change. The question that David Henderson raises is: how can we transpose the unchanged message of the Gospel from an unchanged Body of Christ (Church) to the shifted culture of our days, without altering the message and destroying the church but impacting the culture? So, stating the goal of the book, Henderson affirms he attempts “to help us discover where the world has moved, and how to meet it there.”(16) And in order to do that he digs into the current cultural trends and then offers good, biblical, practical advice on how to communicate God’s truth in our context.

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Eugene L. Lowry, The Homiletical Plot, (Wesminster John Knox Press, 2001)

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Sursa foto: amazon.com

In the last decade, the preaching of the Romanian Baptist Church changed considerably. From the traditional and classical three points sermons, preachers changed to narrative preaching. I spotted that change tried to apply it to my sermons but I found it harder. Now, Lowry helped me see the benefits and the strong points of narrative preaching and offered me a method. What helped me is the fact that he makes good use of other disciplines (linguistics, film, art) to draw out the efficacy of this form of communication.

Eugene Lowry designed the book in three sections. In the first section he makes the case for narrative preaching. Then he says that each sermon ought to begin with the human dilemma, then it should be diagnosed, then the sermonic idea should come as it intersects with the gospel answer. Lowry believes that the sermon will best hold the attention of the hearer if you proceed inductively and do not resolve the tension until the end. The narrative approach involves five movements 1) upsetting the equilibrium 2) analyzing/complicating the discrepancy 3) hinting at clue toward resolution 4) experiencing the gospel 5) anticipating the consequences/future. This is conceptually rendered by a line that curves downward, reaches bottom, makes a decisive and sharp looping turn upwards and forward, reintersects the original downward curve and carries upward and forward. Lowry takes us through these five stages of the Homiletical plot and makes a convincing case why we ought to make our sermons compelling. He is realistic, though, he knows that preachers cannot weave a thriller every Sunday, but he does give us the way in which we can plot out the sermon in a way that will intersect with the lives of our listeners. (more…)

100 de cărți de citit într-o viață

Amazon prezintă o listă cu 100 de cărți de citit într-o viață aici. Este lista alcătuită pe baza  recomandărilor editorilor lor dar, după părerea mea, lasă de dorit. Este insă interesant să observăm diferențele dintre lista aceasta și lista alcătuită de cititori pe Goodreads aici.

Aceste liste sunt alcătuite, așa cum știm fiecare dintre noi în registrul comercial, adică sunt o acțiune de marketing. Eu prefer listele mai specifice, specializate dar și destul de vaste încât să îți extindă orizonturile gândirii. Exemplu de astfel de listă – preferată de mine – găsiți aici pe site-ul Doxologia.

Stephen Seamands, Ministry in the Image of God, (IVP Books, 2005)

Foto 09.03.2014

Foto 09.03.2014

I had to start with the book that reminded me most of my Seminary years. The moment I started reading the book and the list with the names of the theologians who revived the interest for the Trinitarian Theology in the 20th century, (17) I knew I would love this book. It is a great and challenging read, but also clarifying because the view on the Trinity is accessible. It reminded me as a minister of my purpose for ministry, and challenged me not to loose my focus. It also can minister to the soul of pastors and it ministered to my soul!

Dr. Seamands wrote this book starting from the presupposition that the Trinity although accepted by Christians as a truth is not truly understood, explored or made as a life application. Dr. Seamands explains the importance of what the Trinity means to us and how to remodel our lives, our ministries and our relationships after it. Also, Dr. Seamands does a tremendous service to the Church in taking the thought of the recent renaissance in Trinitarian theology and implementing its implications for the practice of theology of ministry. The book begins by considering the nature of God – one God coexisting in three Persons. From this, the Trinitarian contemplation on the nature of God becomes a model for ministry. The purpose statement of the book is: “I have written this book-to demonstrate the significance of the doctrine of the Trinity for the vocation of ministry.”(11). The Trinity is at the heart of our call to ministry, and ministers are called to perfect submission while not losing their distinct personhood. Below are the chapters with my understanding of each in a word (it is not a comprehensive word for the entire chapter, but this is what touched me):

1.Trinitarian Ministry (Centrality): trinity should be central for the life of the church and for the life of the individual. Both, at the level of corporate and individual, the ministry should be rooted in the unity and diversity of the Trinity. Therefore, we are involved in the ministry of Jesus Christ to the Father through the Holy Spirit.

2. Relational Personhood (Vulnerability): This chapter is a reminder that the Gospel and the Trinitarian model call us to open ourselves to relationships. “Many Christians have bought into the cultural notion that religion is an individual, private matter and assume they can believe without belonging.”(39) This chapter presents the concept of “person” in the image of the Trinitarian model. And so, we have to become “persons” in relation to God, Church and family. (more…)