On Eagles’ Wings: An Exploration of Strength in the Midst of Weakness

By Michael Parsons and David J. Cohen (editors)

Combining biblical and theological scholarship, these essays examine the Christian theme of strength in weakness and its relevance for today’s ministry.

ISBN: 9780718891954


This is a volume of practical, scriptural, and contemporary essays exploring the idea of strength in weakness in the context of Christian life and ministry.

Biblical scholars, theologians, and Christian ministry practitioners have thought about the biblical paradigm of strength in weakness within their own areas of expertise and interest. Biblical scholars encounter the idea of strength in weakness in both Old and New Testament passages that suggest human weakness and divine strength. The people of Israel, a community reliant on grace, exemplify this theme. Mark’s portrayal of Jesus Christ indicates that it is in weakness that Christ saves. Paul’s paradigm for ministry suggests the same.

Theological chapters engage this teaching of strength in weakness as it surfaces in Luther’s life, in Calvin’s view of prayer, in Barth’s theology, and ultimately in the divine dealing with the world. Pastoral theology demonstrates this theme’s foundational significance for a suffering church in its mission to the world as well as the theme’s importance for preaching the leading of God’s people today.

Drawing together scholars from fields of biblical studies, systematic theology, and pastoral theology, On Eagles’ Wings questions the over-emphasis on power in today’s church. The authors propose various ways that ministry and mission may be best engaged with a biblical humility and with reliance on God’s grace.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 248

Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Michael Parsons is Director of Postgraduate Study and Research at Vose Seminary of Western Australia. He is the author of Luther and Calvin on Old Testament Narratives (2004), Reformation Marriage (2005), and Calvin’s Preaching on the Prophet Micah (2006). He is also the editor of Text and Task: Scripture and Mission (2005).

David J. Cohen is Head of Biblical Studies and a lecturer in Hebrew Bible at Vose Seminary of Western Australia. He has written about the relevance of lament psalms for worship and pastoral care in Text and Task: Scripture and Mission (2005) and is currently examining the relationship between praying, lament psalms and coping with stress.


Foreword by Derek Tidball (London School of Theology)
List of Contributors

1. New wings for a molting eagle: Isaiah’s bold message to exiled Israel
     David Wyn Williams
2. A prophet in motion: The counterpoint of speaking, acting and reflecting
     David J. Cohen
3. The “destabilized” God: Community without walls
     Merryl Blair
4. Obi-wan Kenobi, Neo, and Mark’s narrative Christology
     Michael F. Bird
5. The scandal of weak leadership: Paul’s defense of ministry
     Evelyn Ashley
6. The powerless leader: A biblical ideal or a contradiction in terms?
     Mary Evans
7. Martin Luther: A theologian forged by trial
     Mark D. Thompson
8. John Calvin on the strength of our weak praying
     Michael Parsons
9. In the power of the Lamb – and of the Lion Power and weakness in the early theology of Karl Barth
     Michael O’Neil
10. God’s vulnerable strength: omnipotence as love
     Clark Pinnock
11. David and Foucault: Extreme violence and innocent suffering in a post-September 11 world
     Brian Holliday
12. Turning Teflon™ into Velcro™: Making words stick in an image-based culture
     Stephen McAlpine
13. Preaching in weakness: Reflections on the self in preaching
     Brian S. Harris
14. Strength in weakness: Developing this paradox through preaching and leading
     Michael J. Quicke



Endorsements and Reviews

This is a heart-warming, insightful, and deeply human collection of essays … Based on sound scholarly work and exegesis, this volume is winsomely and sometimes amusingly written. It is a book to be read in the high and the low times of the Christian life, especially by Christian leaders and workers who are expected in some greater measure than others to be incarnations of the faith of cross and resurrection. It exudes practical wisdom, realism, and devotion. It will not disappoint.
Nigel G. Wright, Principal, Spurgeon’s College, London

This is a timely book that will repay much reflection. When there is so much overemphasis on power in a church that might seem, at times, to be trying to be upwardly mobile, this collection of essays quietly and undemonstratively suggests an alternative way of leadership and living that is, dare I say, closer to biblical example and more humbly dependent on the Holy Spirit. There is a wonderful coherence in this book that betrays the diverse backgrounds, churchmanship and specialisms of the writers, both pastors and theologians, and emphasizes the underlying truth that strength may be found in the midst of weakness.
Luke Penkett, in The Heythrop Journal, Vol 53:6