Faith that Shines cover

In Faith That Shines in the Culture, author Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa shows readers how they can express the light of Christ within God’s three estates: the family, the church, and the state. Faith That Shines in the Culture is the third volume in Espinosa’s trilogy on faith and culture. 

“With the vertical call of Christ for us as baptized children of God, and living in all the estates through the spiritual estate of love for the neighbor, Christ has changed everything so that even in our work—and the way in which Christians work—the light of Christ still shines in this world,” writes Espinosa.

“If you have ever pondered matters such as the difficulty of balancing work life and home life, why it is important that we gather when we worship, or whether our governments should be more forgiving, then you will find answers here,” writes Russell P. Dawn, DPhil, JD, president of Concordia University Chicago, in the foreword.

Faith That Shines in the Culture is the third installment in Espinosa’s Faith That … trilogy, completing his work from the first two books, Faith That Sees through the Culture and Faith That Engages the Culture. With this third and final book, Christians will ultimately see how their lives continuously point back to Christ and His plan for them. Readers will also learn how to express Christ’s light in each portion of their lives as they go about their daily routines. 

“Dr. Espinosa explores the light of the world, the light of Jesus Christ, which, through the faithful baptized, shines through all interactions and serves all people,” says Dr. Beverly Yahnke, executive co-director of DOXOLOGY. “This book will be a valuable asset for pastors and laity seeking a clear and faithful resource on the faithful, light-shining role of the humble Christian servant in each of the three estates.”

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Praise for Faith That Shines in the Culture

With so much talk of “church and state” and “two kingdoms” in our dark days, it is refreshing to read a discussion of the “three orders” or “estates” in the way of Luther’s Small Catechism. Rev. Dr. Espinosa has produced a delightfully engaging book on Christian vocation and the royal priesthood of believers that is both theologically deep and readily accessible to all. This is a must-read for all who desire to let the light of Christ shine in church, home, and society.

—Rev. William M. Cwirla, Pastor Emeritus

The Rev. Dr. Espinosa has done the church a tremendous service in producing a winsome, inspiring, and penetrating work on the often misunderstood topics of sanctification and good works. Too many books on this topic end in either a fruitless pursuit of self-absorbed spiritual navel-gazing or a legalistic enterprise ultimately leading to pride or despair. Espinosa offers readers a biblical and stimulating alternative as he presents the Christian life as one lived within both a Christological and a sacramental context as the baptized serve others in Christ as they see Christ in the family, the church, and the state.

—Rev. Dr. Steve Parks, Assistant Professor of Theology, Concordia University Irvine

We Lutherans shine in expositing the faith to our fellow believers but do not train our people on how to communicate to “outsiders.” How are we equipping our people to speak to today’s young “nones”? Exactly how would one conclude that a given religion was true? How would one argue that a given religion was false? Today most Westerners don’t believe the Bible. So, we just say, “But our affirmations are true and theirs are not.” And even that answer draws forth a response: “And how exactly do you know yours are true and theirs are false?” The Rev. Dr. Espinosa has written a book that will be of genuine help to Lutherans. Lutheran readers will profit by his careful exposition of subjects they will recognize if they were well catechized. As is so common in Western Protestant churches today, the emphasis is on the Christian life (transformation, sanctification, etc.), but Rev. Espinosa devotes one key section to the doctrine of justification, bless him! I heartily recommend that Lutherans avail themselves of the Rev. Dr. Espinosa’s latest book.

—Rev. Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, Professor Emeritus, Concordia University Irvine

Dr. Espinosa explores the light of the world, the light of Jesus Christ, which, through the faithful baptized, shines through all interactions and serves all people. In every vocation given us by God, Espinosa explores how we might be devoted to service and love. The book assists those who counsel as it asks and answers the difficult questions about how the light of Jesus shines boldly through us in each of our vocations. Helpful questions at the close of each chapter, designed to invite reflection and discussion, make the book an excellent choice for a group study. This book will be a valuable asset for pastors and laity seeking a clear and faithful resource on the faithful, light-shining role of the humble Christian servant in each of the three estates.

—Dr. Beverly Yahnke, Executive Co-director, DOXOLOGY: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care and Counsel

Christians in Europe and the US are facing difficult times. Here in Germany, the motherland of the Reformation, Christianity is no longer the majority. In such a climate, sharing Christ’s love becomes a struggle. In Faith That Shines in the Culture, Dr. Espinosa does a marvelous job encouraging us not to give up hope. Again and again, he demonstrates how our identity rests in Christ. We are merely reflectors of His light. With many heartwarming, sometimes very humorous, examples from his personal and pastoral experience, Pastor Al demonstrates in a down-to-earth manner how God uses our daily vocations as parents, children, coworkers, citizens, and church members to share Christ’s love with others. A valuable resource for Christians in the US and Germany alike.

—Pastor Simon Volkmar, Church of the Great Cross, Hermannsburg, Germany

“You are the light of the world.” These are wonderful words of promise from Jesus, but what exactly does He mean? Christians have wrestled with this question ever since Jesus first spoke these words. I am grateful that Rev. Espinosa has also grappled with this question and has given us a faithful and practical exposition of how the Christian faith shines in our culture through our daily life. As a pastor, I am especially thankful this vital topic is presented in a way that lends itself to group study. This is a most helpful resource, encouraging us all to let our faith shine wherever Christ has placed us.

—Pastor Darrin Sheek, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Anaheim, California

About the Author

Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa is a graduate of Concordia University Irvine (BA) and Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana (MDiv). He received an MA in Christian apologetics from Biola University and a PhD in theology from the University of Birmingham (England) in 2009. Dr. Espinosa is the senior pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine, California, and a member of the Board for National Mission of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. In addition to writing the faith-and-culture trilogy, he has served as an author for The Lutheran Difference, a study notes team member for The Lutheran Study Bible, and a contributor to the Biblical Response series.