Grace Theology Press is pleased to announce the publication of our latest book by Dr. Dave Anderson, President of Grace School of Theology, entitled Position and Condition: An Exposition of the Book of Ephesians.
This is an in-depth exegetically based exposition of Ephesians that includes some relevant discussion of some significant theological issues. Let me introduce the book to you by letting you read the opening pages from the pen of Dr. Anderson.
THE PURPOSE DRIVEN CHURCH BUT IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU
Rick Warren is an American pastor who became rich through the sales of one book, A Purpose Driven Life.1 True, it became the best-selling book in the history of the English language, excepting the Bible. For a while it sold over a million copies per month, and before its primary run ended, it had sold over a hundred million copies. He came here to The Woodlands, TX, back in 2005 and was still asking the question “Why?” He claims that he didn’t put anything new in the book not said by others before him. He sprinkled it with Bible verses and biblical principles, yet the secular world was buying it like crazy. He said about a month before his visit here the leader of Rwanda, Africa, had invited him to come to Africa to help them establish a purpose driven nation. Wow, a purpose driven nation; a government was asking for that.
And we all have to ask “Why?” Why now, at this particular juncture of human history are so many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, looking for purpose? As I have pondered this question my mind has taken me back to the beginning of the modern world, which most pundits put at around AD 1750. That’s when The Age of Reason began. Reason rose to near deity status. Reason could solve anything. Man’s mind became the supreme power on our earth—nothing higher. Reason went up to the top floor above faith, and, in fact, within a hundred years or even less had driven faith completely out of the house. Through our science and technology, we could achieve a humanitarian utopia and, for those who still believed in Christ, the millennial kingdom (an approach known as postmillennialism).
WWI was our first hint: maybe advanced technology is not making our society better and better. If WWI rattled the cage of the modern world with its faith in human reason and the ability of our minds to make a better world, WWII dismantled the cage completely. Adolf Hitler used the science of eugenics to help justify his “final solution.”2 And Albert Einstein said the greatest mistake of his life was allowing Leo Szilard to persuade him to write a letter to President Roosevelt that would ultimately lead to the Manhattan Project.3 Little Boy and Fat Man ended the modern era.4 The intentional attempt to destroy an entire race (the Jews) with the use of modern science, and the nuclear age with its potential for self-annihilation, suggested to the baby-boomers that something was wrong with reason. Our reason is flawed; it’s spoiled cheese no matter how you slice it. Science and reason will not bring answers to the problems of the
Thus began our Postmodern Era. The signs of this era tell us that things do not make sense; things are not logical; much of life is nonsense; words have lost their meaning. The latter is known as deconstructionism, that is, we deconstruct the meaning of words until they have no meaning. At the very best, what words mean to you may not be what they mean to me. Every man just does what is right in his own eyes. But who said there was a right and wrong to begin with?
The depressing approach of postmodernity was short-lived, about two generations. The Gen-Xers and the millennials drifted back to the same questions that have plagued mankind from the beginning: who am I, why am I here, and where am I going? All three of those questions scream PURPOSE. Into the vacuum of no answers came Rick Warren’s book. And what a wonderful book it is. But long before Warren wrote about purpose, another book addressed the subject of purpose. We might say the whole Bible does this, but more specifically there is one book of the Bible that zeros in on the subject.
The Book of Ephesians opens with this thought—God has a purpose for your life, but it’s not about you. This letter talks about the Creation and the Conduct of the Church. The church was a mystery unforeseen in the Old Testament. Yet God says, “I have created this Body, this entity for a very special purpose.” I’d like to call the Book of Ephesians the Purpose Driven Church because I think that’s what it’s about. It’s about God’s special purpose for believers in the Body of Christ.”
I think you will find this book insightful and helpful as you deepen your walk with Jesus. And for those of you who want a good source for your sermon preparation, I believe you will find it very beneficial. You can order this resource from Amazon as well as all of the GTP family of books.
Always remember: Readers are leaders and leaders are readers. Happy reading!
1. Rick Warren, A Purpose Driven Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002).
2. Nazi Eugenics, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_eugenics/, accessed September 1, 2016.
3. Albert Einstein, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein/, accessed September 1, 2016.
4. The names given to the two bombs dropped on Japan.
Serving Him with you until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor, Grace Theology Press