Jesus Still the One
The Christian message for a postmodern world
Chris Walker explores the message of Jesus looking for the meta narratives that will guide Christians as they seek to be faithful in the midst of a pluralistic, multi-faith environment. With his usual, faithful and perceptive scholarship, Walker focuses on what are the irrevocable truths that form the undeniable foundation of the Christian faith for this age.
We live in challenging times for Christians and the church in Western nations such as Australia which are now secular, multicultural and multi-religious. The Christian religion does not have the place it once had in society. Increasing numbers of people say they have no religion. On the other hand, migration has meant there are now people who adhere to other religious traditions as well as an increasing diversity among those who are Christians. We live in a globalised world dominated by economic considerations and media reporting. The attitudes people adopt are influenced by postmodern thinking which is sceptical, relativistic and pluralistic. Enlightenment thinking with its emphasis on reason and science continues to be regarded as the way to truth. Religious tradition and Christianity in particular is viewed with scepticism as to its motives and claims to truth.
As someone who does adhere to Christian faith, I wanted to write a book that explores what Jesus’ good news really was, what the Christian metanarrative is about especially in the light of the kinds of challenges that we face. We are all necessarily influenced by our time and context. In 21st century Australia that means the context indicated above. I have tried to respond to these challenges by going over what the grand narrative of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, says to us. That grand narrative has an overarching story though it is presented with variations by different biblical authors. I do so with the challenges that come from secular, postmodern and Enlightenment thinking in mind.
My desire is to assist people to know what Jesus’ good news was really about and to give people confidence that the Christian metanarrative can stand up to the challenges we face. It provides a true perspective on life that can still be affirmed and recommended. Moreover, it is not just a matter of belief but calls for discipleship – namely living the way of Jesus. The people I most admire are Christians who made a difference living their faith in challenging circumstances in different parts of the world.
I have begun by considering the big questions people face concerning origin, identity, purpose and the future. This leads into examining Jesus’ good news in the regard to the Old Testament accounts, then the four Gospels’ presentations of Jesus. I respond to the question of Why Jesus? The centre of Christian faith is Jesus himself. So, I consider him and his central message of the kingdom or reign of God arguing we need to appreciate his whole life and teaching, death and resurrection, his person and his message of the rule of God. I affirm Jesus as Lord and one with God as the Christian church has done since the early church. Then I contrast good advice with good news saying that the basic issue for humanity is not lack of knowledge but sin, i.e. a self-orientation at the expense of others. Finally, I offer some thoughts as to Christian discipleship in the 21st century in the light of the various big challenges I have identified. I conclude by saying I am convinced Jesus is still the one to follow. There is none like him. I hope that those who read this book will be encouraged to make the same affirmation and point others to him also.
I am grateful to those who read the draft manuscript and made helpful suggestions, namely Geoff Stevenson, Niall Reid and Bronwyn Murphy. All are busy people and I valued their comments. What is offered is of course my own. I hope people will be stimulated to consider and discuss what I have presented for their own benefit and have provided questions at the end of each chapter to assist with this.
Christopher C. Walker
Jesus Still the One (PDF)
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