Posts Tagged ‘Book Reviews’
Eschatology: Biblical, Historical, and Practical Approaches
By D. Jeffrey Bingham
Publisher: Kregel Academic
There is an old saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover…” and this is true with Eschatology: Biblical, Historical, and Practical Approaches. When I ordered this book, it was on the basis of the subtitle with consideration to the words biblical, historical, and practical. While I found this book informative, I did not find it biblical, historical, or practical. I will qualify my findings based on the subjective definition of all those words.
Eschatology by Bingham is one side of a box. The Christian tradition is rich and diverse as is the Jewish tradition from which Christianity is derived. When I considered “biblical” and “historical,” I was expecting a thorough treatment of the subject of Eschatology, which is defined as “The part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind.” I suppose I did get treatment on the subject, but it was very narrowly defined and almost exclusively from one perspective and tradition and that being Protestant and Reformed. While this was not totally unexpected, it was rather disappointing considering again the subtitle. I was hoping for a more inclusive and expansive treatment of the subject. As such, the material was presented in such a way that an unsuspecting reader might assume the dispensational view of biblical “final things” is the only way to understand and interpret the Scriptures.
It was my hope that the presentation of material would be more comprehensive and delivered in an objective manner, allowing the reader to make an informed decision on what theory they might understand as “more practical.” Unfortunately, this is/was not the case.
In fairness, the material, narrowly defined as it might be, was presented well. I appreciated the essay format with multiple authors. Likewise, I appreciated the effort and attempt at including a historical perspective although as a church history buff I noticed immediately how exclusionary the material actually was.
Book Review: Reordering the Trinity
Author: Rodrick K. Durst
Publisher: Kregel Academic
Reordering the Trinity: Six Movements of God in the New Testament
Reordering the Trinity is a very interesting book that can inspire great conversation with Rodrick Durst’s observations and thesis ideas concerning the nature and movement of the Trinity as revealed in the New Testament Scriptures.
While I’m not personally convinced of Durst’s defense of his thesis, being unsure that we can reduce the ordering of the persons of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to a formulaic purpose of intent regarding their placement of order, I do find the argument very interesting.
In a very brief synopsis, Durst presents his case to support the idea that on the basis of the specific order of the persons of the Trinitarian mentions found in the New Testament, we are able to understand purposeful mission of God. In Part Two of his work, Durst lays out his explanation through the following “Trinitarian Matrix”:
- The Sending Triad – (Father-Son-Spirit) – Missional Order
- The Saving Triad – (Son-Spirit-Father) – Regenerative Order
- The Indwelling Triad – (Son-Father-Spirit) – Christological Witness
- The Standing Triad – (Spirit-Father-Son) – The Sanctifying Order
- The Shaping Triad – (Father-Spirit-Son) – Spiritual Formation Order
- The Uniting Triad – (Spirit-Son-Father) – The Ecclesial Order
As I have mentioned previously, the conversation in this book is very intriguing. The author has done a commendable job of presenting his thesis. There is a wealth of information presented in a very conversational tone. It has been my experience that deep conversations about the work of the Trinity are rare in the travels of my fellow Christian learners. I think Durst’s book can be a valuable tool to ignite these conversations and he has been thoughtful to include discussion starter questions at the end of each chapter.
Finally, I add this thought; the appendices, bibliography, and index reference are worth the investment of the book. Durst has included a number of tables and charts, a glossary of terms, and a host of additional tools helpful with experiential exercises. As mentioned, the bibliography is one of the more extensive I’ve encountered in my Trinitarian studies and I found it fairly represented across a broad steam of traditions and doctrinal representations. I will reiterate my lack of conviction concerning Durst’s proposition, but I am highly impressed with his study and will value his work as a very respectable resource for my continuing studies.
Book Review: A Commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles
Author: Eugene H. Merrill
Publisher: Kregel Academic
Kregel Exegetical Library: A Commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles
A Commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles, written by Eugene H. Merrill is another fine addition in the Exegetical Library Commentary Series by Kregel Academic. I am one of those who rarely does deep study in the books of 1 & 2 Chronicles, not that I do not read from there, but most often the Chronicles is a supporting player to my studies from the books of Samuel and the Kings. It is for this reason I really do not have a strong comparison commentary for 1 & 2 Chronicles and must base my review solely on the merits of this work with a slight nod toward previous commentaries in this Exegetical Series.
One thing I’ve come to appreciate about Kregel’s commentaries is the wonderful charts and tables that are a strong feature in every commentary I’ve reviewed in this series. This work from Eugene Merrill is no exception. It too features a very helpful assortment of charts and tables. Similarly, I really like that the Kregel includes an index of all the charts and special features found within the commentary for easy navigation, for example, there are excurses featured throughout the book and each is notated by page for quick reference, notations of hymns and praises found in the Chronicles are also indexed as are other theological discourses. This, in my opinion, makes this a very handy resource for quick research.
Merrill has included a fairly substantial bibliography at the end of the commentary. I was/am especially impressed with the source material he has referenced for backgrounds and history. I feel my wallet will become substantially lighter after having encountered this list of references, several titles of which really caught my attention.
As I reported earlier in my review, I do not have any comparison to the Chronicles commentary specifically, but I am pleased with the writing style of Merrill and found it understandable and not overly academic or terribly full of Hebrew language, which I would have difficulty understanding since I have no schooling in the language and have to rely on my word study resources and the explanations of the author.
I continue to recommend the Exegetical Commentary Series by Kregel as it represents a solid, Evangelically objective approach to the Scriptures. I’ve come to trust the series and will continue to recommend it to friends and colleagues.
Book Review: Water to Wine
Author: Brian Zahnd
Publisher: Spello Press ISBN: 9780692569184
This is the first book I’ve read by Brian Zahnd, although I’ve been a follower of his blog for quite some time now. I’ve enjoyed his writing and the theology he embraces, so when I heard him announce he had published a portion of his life’s story, I eagerly ordered the book to learn a bit more about him. I’m glad I did… This book has been one of the more affirming and encouraging books I’ve read in a long time. While it’s not my intent to pontificate about me in this review, I will say without reservation Water to Wine is also some of my story. Even more intriguing than Brian’s story being so uncanny in its similarity to my own, is that this same path traced by Brian Zahnd seems to be a common thread in the journey of so many Protestants.
This portion of Zahnd’s story begins with the desire to truly connect with the deep wisdom and mystery of the center of Christianity, the God-man, Jesus. Brian speaks of his ministry success and expresses his disenchantment with a “paper-thin Christianity propped up by cheap certitude.” He was yearning for something deeper, richer, fuller… What follows is an epic and eye-opening exploration to the ancient paths of the Christian faith and the discovery of traditions of deep-wisdom forged by the original apostles and disciples of Christ and continued by the saints who have followed them through the ages. This is The stuff of true disciples of the Way of Jesus Christ.
Chapter by chapter, Zahnd interweaves some of his story with the history and experiences of those faithful followers through the ages who left the breadcrumbs of faith for us to follow. There is nothing that I do not absolutely love about this book, but there are several chapters that resonate so deeply within that I know it is the affirming nod of the Holy Spirit. One of these affirmations comes from chapters three, four, and five where Brian reflects on his reintroduction to the discipline of prayer…and perhaps even the redefining and rediscovery what prayer truly represents and can be. As I mentioned earlier, so much of what he “found” in this chapter was an echo of my own discovery with fixed-hour prayers, ancient prayer books, contemplative prayer, and more wrapped up in this richness of unity with the Godhead and with the fellowship and communion of the saints.
Another chapter that is among my favorites and maybe my very favorite is chapter seven, Grain and Grape. In this chapter, Brian shares a wonderful exploration and treatment of the Eucharistic celebration that is the Table of the Lord. I love the connection he makes with the Incarnation of the Lord and the sacrament of Communion, the Eucharist. He writes; “The more deeply we are influenced by the sacred mystery of the Incarnation—that God became human—the more seriously we will take the sacraments of Baptism and Communion.” What proceeds for the remainder of this chapter following those words is an exhilarating journey into the realm of sacred mystery and earthbound glory.
Zahnd concludes this portion of his testimony with a bit of an apologetic…not an apology. This is an explanation and invitation to “come and follow” on this incredibly rich ride that is the Christianity that has been born out of those early followers of Jesus. No, this is not a return to the old, but an honoring of the ancient as we stand on the shoulders of those who have faithfully journeyed before us. We walk side-by-side in the age we live, building on the traditions that have been time-honored methods of forming disciples of Jesus.
There is much more that I could detail about this book, but I have been deliberately vague in the specifics of what Brian shares. If you are the slightest bit intrigued, I strongly encourage you to buy the book. If you have felt that following Jesus and the promises of your faith have fallen short of what you have believed it should be, buy the book. You might find a door opening that will set the course for the greatest adventure of your life…and ultimately be the faith that you have always believed was calling to you all along.
Book Review: The Uncontrolling Love of God
Author: Thomas Jay Oord
Publisher: InterVarsity Press ISBN: 9780830840847
I like Tom Oord. I like that he is a thinker. I like that even when he postulates an idea, he’s not always resolute in its absoluteness. He seems to always be exploring, processing, and attempting to understand. I remember the first time I was exposed to the “open view” of God, sometime around twelve or thirteen years ago, and I immediately rejected the idea as something that could ever be considered within the paradigm of my theology. I could not escape the gnaw of this open view though, and when it appeared on my radar again around eight years ago, I started to do some investigation and deeper reading. Tom Oord and others have been instrumental in the continuing evolution of my thought, perception, and growing relationship with God through their writing and lectures on a more open and expansive understanding of God’s relationship and His engagement in the lives of men and women. While I’m not an open theist, I know for certain my understanding of God and relationship I live with Him is far more healthier now than it has ever been in my life, in large part because of my willingness to engage this dynamic of the uncontrolling love of God. I share this preface for those who may be highly resistant to ideas previously foreign to your thinking about God. I was that guy. I am no longer that guy. This is a worthy book to read.
Oord begins this work with questions regarding the goodness of God and the tragic events that can call that goodness into question; these are the “why questions” and the reasoning behind the chapter title Tragedy Needs Explanation.
The case for God’s uncontrolling love builds with chapter two as Oord further develops his thesis, drawing distinctions between God’s sovereign control over every detail of existence and the possibility of randomness as a factor in the circumstances and happenings of life. It will be necessary for each reader to draw their own conclusion, but one thing I particularly enjoyed from this chapter was the brilliant synthesis of philosophy, science-physics, and theology. I think, in general terms, we are often want to speak and quantify our beliefs in binary terms… If I am reading Oord’s ideas correctly in this section, he promotes a mixed view of causation and randomness in all the events and circumstances of life, he concludes this chapter with these words; “Both randomness and regularity persist in the universe.” I have likely way oversimplified his wonderful presentation, but this is my simple review and my very, very brief synopsis.
The elements of free will and determination are explored in chapter three, which was a very insightful and interesting read. There are far too many excellent points in this chapter to do justice in this short review, but I can share a teaser with the following quote:
The two words, free and will, capture what most people mean when they talk about the freedom to choose in any particular moment. But philosophers use various terms to talk about free will. The philosophical label libertarian free will describes what I believe is the most plausible view of freedom. Libertarian free will says genuine freedom is irreconcilable with being fully determined to act in a particular way. Libertarian-free-will supporters are incompatiblists because they believe we cannot be simultaneously free and entirely determined by other forces. In other words, free will and complete determinism are incompatible. We choose among alternatives, and other agents and factors do not completely control us. (p. 59)
I think, one of the big takeaways for me from this chapter, is the affirmation of my own conclusion regarding my conversion from Calvinism (many years ago). In my opinion, as echoed in the above quote, theistic determinism is incompatible with free will. Now, granted this statement leaves much unanswered, but those unanswered questions are much of what Oord’s book, The Uncontrolling Love of God, explores (and a great reason to purchase and read it).
As I have alluded previously, I appreciate the approach of Oord to not bifurcate the discussion of theodicy with “either/or” statements about God and instead embrace more of a “both/and” approach to understanding this complex conversation. Again, this is my interpretation and I hope I am not oversimplifying or misrepresenting the nature and discussion in this book. You’ll need to read it and judge for yourself. A great case for my observation can be found in the presentation of Models of God’s Providence (beginning pg. 83, chapter four). Once more, in my opinion, this might be one of the more important chapters in the book. I think it can serve for some very deep and healthy discussion (albeit possibly fired with much passion), and would be an excellent reason for introducing this book in a study group. The ways we think about God and His actions among us have serious repercussions and ramifications. A conversation concerning the models of God’s providence is a great introduction to explore ways we think about God.
Tom Oord has written and lectured extensively on the open and relational view of God. It is in chapter five that he begins to fully engage this position deeply with relation to tragedy, free will, determination, and love within the scope of the God and humanity relationship. For the sake of ease and the benefit of my friends who will read this review and likely be unfamiliar with the open view of God, I will include Oord’s major defining points for this position. He writes in the opening statements of chapter five.
Open and relational theology embraces the reality of randomness and regularity, freedom and necessity, good and evil. It asserts that God exists and that God acts objectively and responsively in the world. This theology usually embraces at least these three ideas:
- God and creatures relate to one another. God makes a real difference to creation, and creation makes a real difference to God. God is relational.
- The future is not set because it has not yet been determined. Neither God nor creatures know with certainty all that will actually occur. The future is open.
- Love is God’s chief attribute. Love is the primary lens through which we best understand God’s relation with creatures and the relations creatures should have with God and others. Love matters most.
Advocates of open and relational theology may describe their views a little differently from the way I have here. Some add other beliefs. Among the open and relational theology books of importance and in addition to those cited, but most advocates embrace at least these three statements. (pg. 107)
Please note as quoted above that Oord describes this as his defining points of the Open and Relational View of God, while others will add other defining points to the position.
While this chapter represents a big-picture view of the open and relational dynamic of God, it is not just a high-level fly by. There is much depth to the presentation and Oord has done a remarkable job of annotating sources from a diverse group of thinkers and theologians. Additionally, with such depth of thinking, one can often get lost in the academic structure of the discussion; this is not so with Oord’s presentation. He has also performed admirably to bring the conversation to an every-day-man level of understanding. I believe this chapter could easily be a standalone work expressing this particular view of God.
Chapter six is a chapter I will have to return to and read more closely. I admit that it is a portion of the book that I skimmed more than I digested, unlike the slower more deliberate approach I took with previous chapters. In it, Oord dialogues quite extensively with John Sanford’s work in his book, The God Who Risks: A Theology of Divine Providence. Oord expresses the importance of this chapter as a preface to his summary conclusion.
Similar to my statements from chapter six, I extend my thoughts to the concluding chapters of seven and eight where Oord offers the brunt of reason behind his position and his concluding statements. It is with complete transparency that I offer my inconclusiveness. The jury is still out for me with regard to theodicy and the working of God within the parameters of His sovereignty and humanity’s unrestricted free will. I admit I don’t understand all the myriad ways of God’s working within the scope of humanity and free will. At this juncture, I’m willing to live in the divine tension of God’s mystery. I say this while fully engaged in asking questions of God and pondering with deepest contemplation (love) all the knowledge that God will impart regarding these deep and soulful questions about our existence and the ways of life in the midst of brokenness and people still separated from God by the distorted image of God within them. Even while I make these admissions about myself, there are several points that Oord makes in his Kenosis chapter (seven) that put me on edge…and for the very reasons that he gives his voice under his subheading Essential Kenosis and Evil, also found in chapter seven. I have learned that this type of discomfort I describe is when I need to pay attention very closely; I need to proceed slowly and allow God the Holy Spirit to guide my understanding. That is not to say that I will eventually be swayed to another view, but that I will remain objective in my search for truth and be wary of my personal biases as well as positions anchored in personal conviction. I think I’ll end my review on that note.
This is an excellent and very thought-worthy book. I think it will make a fabulous group study. In my opinion, there’s no way a person can read The Uncontrolling Love of God and not find subjects worthy of engagement. There’s a lot here and some deep thinking, but not too difficult to approach even for high school students. I think it also serves as a compilation and expository summary of many of Oord’s earlier works, which can be helpful if you’ve read much of his writing or if you’ve read none. The book is well annotated with extensive footnotes. I’m reading a proof copy, so I’m not sure if this is the final version of the book or not. I do not know if there will be additional appendices or if there will be a bibliography included, but in either event, this is a very worthy read. Thanks Tom for stretching my theology and giving me pause to evaluate my positions.
The book is currently available for preorder at Amazon and is scheduled for release Dec. 06, 2015
Book Review: A Commentary on Exodus
Author: Duane A. Garrett
Publisher: Kregel ISBN: 9780825425516
A Commentary on Exodus
The commentaries published by the Kregel Exegetical Library continue to impress me. The Commentary on Exodus by Duane A. Garrett is another strong volume in the Old Testament Series.
One of the many things that I particularly like about this series is there are no compromises where scholastic excellence is involved. The volumes in this commentary series are the pinnacle of academic excellence in my opinion. This can be an intimidating attribute for some, but I would say there is no reason for intimidation. In addition to academic excellence, the commentary is among the most readable that I have experienced. I am not a language or textual criticism expert and I still find the writing conversational and understandable. The marriage of readability and scholasticism is what moves me to rank this series so highly.
Duane Garrett has done an exceptional job with research and exposition of the Exodus narrative. Beginning with an incredibly comprehensive introduction addressing geography, archeology, Egyptian dynasties, socio-political circumstance, textual criticism and so much more, Garrett lays a solid foundation from which he works the major themes in his Commentary on Exodus.
No matter what commentary or commentaries you may have in your library for this key book from the Old Testament Scriptures, Kregel’s Commentary on Exodus by Duane Garrett is a worthy addition and compliment to your collection.
Book Review: Enemies of the Heart
Author: Andy Stanley
Publisher: Multnomah ISBN: 9781601421456
I have appreciated the communication skills of Andy Stanley for years. Personally, I think he is one of the great communicators and teachers of our day. I have often marveled at his ability to repackage timeless teaching and contemporize it for the present audience. Enemies of the Heart is another sterling example of this gift that Stanley has.
While Enemies of the heart touts “Four Emotions That Control You,” the primary teachings that it draws from seems to come from Evagrius’ and Pope Gregory’s teaching on the Eight/Seven deadly sins. Stanley addresses four major challenges to the Christian life (five if you count lust from the final chapters in part four), guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy. The original “Deadly Sins” codified by Evagrius and Gregory the Great follows: Lust, Gluttony or waste and over indulgence, Avarice or Greed, Sloth or Apathy, Wrath or Anger, Envy or Jealousy, and Pride or vanity and narcissism. The teachings of the ancient fathers of the church stated that “guilt” was the result of culpability to these major sins. I think you can see the parallel of Stanley’s premise from Enemies of the Heart and this ancient treatise on the sins of man.
In part three, Stanley addresses the sins by offering counter disciplines and attitudes to change the behavior of the persons plagued by guilt, anger, greed, jealousy, …and lust. This is not unlike the disciplines introduced by the church fathers to similarly deal with the issues of these core sins. They offered the following pursuits to eradicate the deadly sins: chastity to overcome lust, moderation to control gluttony, charity to counter greed, diligence to abate sloth, patience to smother anger, kindness to temper envy, and humility to sate pride.
I am thankful for people like Andy Stanley who can repackage classic teaching and help to expand the audience of such. This is a great introduction to the issues of sin and classic spiritual formation. Those who would like to delve deeper might consider the writings of the Philokalia.
Book Review: Accidental Saints
Author: Nadia Bolz-Weber
Publisher: Convergent Books ISBN: 9781601427557
Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People
This was the first book I’ve read from Nadia Bolz-Weber. I’ve watched a few of her talks on the internet over the years, but I had not gotten around to reading her book Pastrix before I had this book, Accidental Saints, offered for my review. I mention this for the point that I had limited personal knowledge to her message and communication style, although I was familiar with internet chatter about her.
It is easy to form opinions from the banter of others and while I try to stay objective in my perceptions about “stuff” and other people, I am influenced by the circles in which I travel. I freely admit that I am a bit more conservative with my interpretation and expression of the Christian faith; consequently, I was a bit cautious of the progressive posture held by Nadia Bolz-Weber when I started Accidental Saints. While I was not surprised by what I read, I was surprised by how much I agreed with and how much I was ministered to by Nadia’s experiences and sharing.
Nadia’s writing style is very open. She’s transparent and bluntly honest or so it seems. If profanity offends you, then this might not be on your summer reading list. The language can be a bit salty at times, but that is also “real world” and the stories in Accidental Saints are real… as are our own emotions, thoughts, responses, and reactions. Similarly, I don’t hold the same theological positions as Bolz-Weber on several doctrinal issues, but then…I can say that about my own denomination as well. Regardless of whether I hold the same theological positions, I was blessed repeatedly by the accounts shared and the spiritual insights gleaned through them.
I received an Advanced Reading Copy for my examination, so I’m not entirely sure the final printing will be in the same format, but I’ll share what I read nonetheless. The book seems to loosely follow a year-in-the-life of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado, the church pastored by Nadia Bolz-Weber. Chapter one begins with All Saints Day on the Liturgical Calendar (Nov. 1) and flows pretty much through the high points of the Christian Calendar to the following year All Saints Day. Personal anecdotes walk the reader through the church year and spiritual insights gleaned through the lives of Bolz-Weber and many of the congregants that share community in House for all Sinners and Saints.
The ARC ends with a couple appendices that include discussion questions for group readings and a Q&A with the author, Bolz-Weber.
My overall impressions are very favorable and I’m inclined to get my hands on a copy of Pastrix, as there are several allusions to the book, which incite my curiosity. Profanity does not freak me out, so that didn’t affect my view of what I was reading, but it is something to be aware of in case you are bothered by it. I am also glad I entered into the reading with relative objectivity, because there are some great stories and beautiful spiritual insights to be gleaned here. I’m glad I had the opportunity to read and review the book; I don’t think it would be appreciated by everyone in my circle of influence, but I will recommend it where I think it appropriate. Final ranking 4 of 5 stars.
Book Review: What Your Body Knows About God
Author: Rob Moll
Publisher: IVP ISBN: 9780830836772
This has been without doubt, one of the most fascinating and brilliant books I have read in years. I may be putting a lot of trust in research that I have no background or knowledge of, but it seems that the claims and data presented by Rob Moll in What Your Body Knows About God is sufficiently supported in the notes section of the book for fact checking. Why would I make a statement like that? I make a qualifying or disclaimer statement because the information shared is almost too fantastic to fathom. On the other side of fact checking, is intuition and experience, and this is where I have made the connection with What Your Body Knows.
Here are some salient details about my experience. I am a former addict. Although I was raised in the heart of the Bible belt and taught the Christian faith most of my life, for many years I was living my life very far from God. Quite a few years ago, I made my pilgrimage back to the Christian faith with hopes of finding a deep connection with God that I could never find in some of the earlier forays into Christian spirituality during my younger-self life. Somewhere around ten years ago, I was introduced to the ancient and classic methods of spiritual formation, engaging in spiritual exercises and disciplines practiced by souls for centuries who were on the Way of Jesus who sought whole life transformation in the image and nature of the Christ they follow. Ultimately, these practices were supposed to help facilitate deep reconciliation, restoration, and union with Creator God and many, many of those practicing this lifestyle of devotion did report deep personal transformation…with equal affirming reports from witnesses and peers to the same. My testimony is similar. I have found peace with myself, peace with God, and realized a renewed mind and changed heart. My spiritual life was not the only thing that changed with me through this process. In addition to my spiritual health, my emotional health, my intellect, and aspects of my physical self have changed… in some cases, these changes have rendered me unrecognizable as the man I was formerly known. I am, in every sense of the word, a new creation. I know others will attest to these changes in me as well, but the challenge has been quantifying and validating the process and methods. This is especially true of my Christian tradition, which remains highly skeptical of any efforts that might resemble “works” or self-effort on the way of spiritual recovery.
I have struggled with language to articulate my experience, but that struggle is ending due in large part to the work Rob Moll has done in this most excellent book. While I have known the changes in my life (and others’ lives) have been real, I have needed something more to help communicate the rationality of what has happened. The reality of living in the information age and the age of reason dictates a language the culture can understand. What the Body Knows About God is providing me this language. Moll produces deep science and medical studies to corroborate the experiences of those who have been spiritually transformed. Evidence that supports the “renewing of the mind” and rewiring of the emotions (think fruit of the Spirit) are all included in this magnificent study. Verifiable connections to the disciplines of spiritual formation and life transformation producing “abundant living” are all recorded and explained in terms non-science person like myself can understand.
I am beyond grateful for the work put into this book and know it will be a game changer for me as I continue to share my testimony, now in ways that might better communicate the miracle of God in a life transformed. We are truly “fearfully and wonderfully made” and made so that we might be in faithful fellowship with one another and with the God who created us. What Your Body Knows About God helps to make all of this clear. A must read!
Book Review: Pilgrim’s Progress
Author: John Bunyan
Publisher: ANEKO Press
Pilgrim’s Progress is likely one of the greatest works of literary allegory that exists. I realize how bold that statement might be, but one only read the book to find the truth steeped in that boldness.
While Pilgrim’s Progress charts the arc of the Christian journey, I don’t think it is limited to the Christian experience. Truly the brilliance of John Bunyan is realized in his astute understanding and the following portrayal of the human journey as seen through Pilgrim’s (Christian) eyes.
Originally written almost three hundred fifty years ago, the version I review has been updated to include both the actual Holy Bible Scripture verses and the Scripture references in line with the text of the story. This is a great benefit to the reader who may want to understand the theological reference from whence Bunyan develops his story (an example follows).
“What does this mean?” Christian asked.
The Interpreter answered, “This is Christ who continually maintains the work already begun with the oil of his grace in the heart. By this grace, in spite of what the Devil can do, the souls of his people still prove to be gracious.” (My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather glory in my weaknesses that the power of Christ may dwell in me. -2 Cor. 12:9)
Other than the Scripture helps and modernized language, the book remains faithful to the original writing published in 1638. Although some of the concepts may be a bit complex for very young children, I wouldn’t hesitate to read it to those even as young as second grade. In fact, I read the story to my children when they were between the ages of seven and twelve years old. Even if some of the ideas and situations found in the story or “big,” it can serve as conversations starters and discussions about the nature of life’s journey. This work should be on everyone’s “must read” list… perhaps to revisit and read again and again.
I received a complimentary copy of this book with no obligation to post a favorable review.