Participating in Abundant Life
Our world is hungry for salvation, but we don't always know how to talk about it. Christians agree that God cares about people's lives both in this world and into eternity. But the ways we describe salvation often separate the spiritual from the material. Many groups emphasize one at the expense of the other, limiting the picture of what God has to offer.
Mark Teasdale works to bridge the gaps by taking up Jesus' language of abundant life. This life is something Jesus invites us to participate in—to seek both for ourselves and for others. It's rich and multidimensional, not splitting spirits and minds from bodies and material needs. By connecting biblical perspectives of holistic salvation to contemporary concepts of well-being, Teasdale also shows how Christians can both better communicate in secular settings as well as partner with all people regardless of their faith to seek the common good.
Incorporating concepts of material standard of living and subjective quality of life, Teasdale argues, gives Christians common language to share the promise of abundant life with those who hold to secular commitments. Yet we must also boldly present Jesus' invitation to eternal life and discipleship. For churches, ministry leaders, and laypeople Teasdale offers ideas to improve and measure methods of promoting all dimensions of salvation for the good of others.
"Mark Teasdale's new book comes at the right time. In a crisis-ridden world, churches everywhere are challenged to find timely expressions of the gospel. Without a clear and holistic understanding of what salvation means in our day and age, churches will struggle in ministry and mission in their given contexts. Participating in Abundant Life follows a positive approach and is deeply encouraging reading—rooted in Scripture, theologically comprehensive, and convincingly clear in its conclusions. It is a highly recommend resource for students of theology and evangelism as well as for clergy and lay leaders with a 'bias for the gospel.'"
"Mark skillfully widens the scope of salvation—connecting back to the concepts of shalom and the kingdom of God—to show that a more holistic and yet deeply biblical view of abundant and eternal life is for both the world now and the world to come. So good, and a much-needed word for the times we're living in."
"In his book Participating in Abundant Life, Mark Teasdale encourages Christians to see salvation not as a personal possession or our one-way ticket to heaven but as an ongoing opportunity to seek justice, to deliver goods and offer services to the world as an embodiment of abundant life. Teasdale's book joins in a pressing conversation for Christians who are looking to do more with Jesus than attend a weekly morning worship service and midweek Bible study. Read this book and then chime in!"
"Dr. Teasdale powerfully connects the heart cry of contemporary culture for justice and flourishing with a biblical and much-needed expanded soteriology. Participating in the Abundant Life lifts up the important work of 'common good' missiology for both restoring the relevance of evangelism in the church as well as the relevance of the Christian message for those outside it. Dr. Teasdale's vision of evangelism gives the right attention to the human relevance of a gospel that transcends the captivity it has fallen into through the various echo chambers of faith traditions in the West, rightly reminding us that Jesus saves both from the hell to come as well as the hell that is now."
"When I read Mark Teasdale's Participating in Abundant Life, I found myself immersed in a text devoted to a holistic understanding of salvation amid a global context. A text developed during a global pandemic and cultural upheaval, this book articulates a coherent expression of salvation that goes beyond eternal rewards and reminds us of redemption in our everyday contexts. Through Teasdale's approach, the reader can engage with a range of thinkers and theologians in exploring a fully developed view of salvation. As a pastor who frequently looks for texts to provide parishioners with breadth and depth of engagement, I find Teasdale's book to be exactly the kind I enjoy putting into their hands. This versatile text is useful in the classrooms of higher education institutions and around small group circles in local churches. Being able to read about the greater hope of our salvation, done within an ecumenical conversation, gives us a greater encouragement to share the news of Jesus Christ. I am sure this book will benefit many more and help grow God's kingdom."
"This is a must-read for pastors and believers who seek to avoid the aporia of being forced to decide between an exclusive emphasis on otherworldly concerns that comes from spiritualizing the gospel, or its opposite, a sole focus on social witness and improving people's lives without the crucified and risen Christ. Deeply informed by the gospel, history, and liturgy of the church, Teasdale explains Christ's coming into the world as an event of cosmic proportions that permeates all spheres of life and enables abundance of life that we are to share with others through a praxis of charity, hospitality, patience, and love for neighbor. It gives Christian meaning to quantifiable secular concepts such as quality of life and standard of living, enabling Christians to dialog and function both communally and personally in a secular and pluralist context."
"In a myopic, dichotomized, secular world, Mark Teasdale offers a whole meal of the gospel of Jesus as expansive salvation and superabundant life that both the Bible and theological traditions have witnessed. Sit with Mark and your mind will be transformed and drawn to an enchanted life that is good, happy, beautiful, and perfect."
Foreword by Alan Hirsch and Mark Nelson
1. A Mission for the Common Good
2. Experiencing Salvation
3. Saving Lives
4. Standard of Living
5. Saving Happiness
6. Eternal Life
7. Salvation Today
Appendix: Metrics for Salvation