Reviews

In their book Practices for the Refounding of God’s People: The Missional Challenge of the West (2018), Alan Roxburgh and Martin Robinson first offer a rather pessimistic analysis of the consequences of modernity’s “wager” (the metaphor is Adam Seligman’s) in letting go of its Christian… (2 May 2022 | 14 comments)
It is clear from reading recent books on missional church that a missional theology needs to extend in two directions. It needs to extend in a social direction to encompass the existence of churches as communities interacting with societies; and it needs to give an account of the… (31 Jan 2022 | 0 comments)
If you’re looking for a primer on missional theology, John Franke’s Missional Theology: An Introduction is not a bad option. It’s clearly presented and to the point, with just five chapters on “Missional God,” “Missional Church,” “Missional Theology,” “Missional Multiplicity,” and “… (27 Jan 2022 | 0 comments)
John Franke’s Missional Theology: An Introduction starts with the idea associated with Karl Barth and the missiologist Karl Hartenstein that the biblical God is in his very nature a missional God. Mission is not primarily what the church does; it is what God does, expressed most fully in… (25 Jan 2022 | 0 comments)
Thom Stark’s book The Human Faces of God: What Scripture Reveals When it Gets God Wrong is an attack on the doctrine of inerrancy—or perhaps better, an attempt to reframe the problem of biblical errancy. In chapter 8, which is the only chapter I’ve read so far, he argues that Jesus… (16 Aug 2021 | 9 comments)
Stefan Paas is a Dutch missiologist. Pilgrims and Priests: Christian Mission in a Post-Christian Society (2019) is a modified English version of a book originally published in Dutch. It is his attempt to answer the “big question” that logically precedes any missiological enquiry, namely, “… (13 Jul 2021 | 2 comments)
I happened to come across an article by Darrell Hannah called “The Throne of His Glory: The Divine Throne and Heavenly Mediators in Revelation and the Similitudes of Enoch.”1 Very interesting, I thought. A bit convoluted for a blog post, but very interesting. I won’t dwell too much on the… (6 May 2021 | 0 comments)
The latest edition of the Journal of Biblical Literature has an article by Katherine Shaner entitled “The Danger of Singular Saviors: Vulnerability, Political Power, and Jesus’s Disturbance in the Temple (Mark 11:15–19).” It’s a nicely provocative piece on two counts: it suggests… (7 Apr 2021 | 2 comments)
It’s funny how quickly a book can go out of date. Admittedly, I’m reviewing Jennifer Butler’s Who Stole My Bible? Reclaiming Scripture as a Handbook for Resisting Tyranny from a safe distance, and maybe there’s a lot that’s not visible from here. But the book was written in the middle of a… (17 Mar 2021 | 3 comments)
I have been reading Eric Mason’s book Woke Church: An Urgent Call for Christians in America to Confront Racism and Injustice. It’s not the book I was expecting it to be. It’s an honest, heartfelt attempt, written from within the black community, to connect modern imperatives of racial… (1 Oct 2020 | 5 comments)
Where is God in a Coronavirus World? is really a piece of old school—the old “school” of C.S. Lewis—apologetics reworked for the COVID-19 era. This slight and simple book “concentrates on the problem of natural evil,” John Lennox says. In a time of crisis we look for solace and hope. Where… (13 Aug 2020 | 2 comments)
We have an online Communitas “Thinklings” event coming up this week, spread over a few days, to consider the question of church and mission after the pandemic. Brian McLaren helped us launch this informal theological forum nearly 20 years ago, and we’ve kept it going fitfully. Never before online… (13 Jul 2020 | 0 comments)
The Reformed tradition reads the coronavirus pandemic in a narrowly personal and dualistic fashion, with little regard for the tumultuous realities of history. How far this falls short of the standards of the biblical witness is apparent from Walter Brueggemann’s somewhat improvised contribution to… (27 May 2020 | 6 comments)
The coronavirus pandemic is an opportunity for the church to rethink its message and reform its behaviour, and we need to take up this challenge urgently. That’s how I see it. So it’s good that John Piper has attempted, within a very brief span, to assimilate the pandemic into his theological… (19 May 2020 | 11 comments)
Enough of the pandemic, let’s get back to Steve Chalke’s book The Lost Message of Paul. Chalke is a somewhat post-evangelical leader in the UK with excellent credentials. In this book he is using the “new perspectives” on Paul that have emerged in New Testament scholarship in recent… (3 Apr 2020 | 2 comments)
I made the comment in part 1 of this review of Steve Chalke’s The Lost Message of Paul that he has worked hard to integrate recent New Testament scholarship into his analysis of Paul but that in the end his personal judgment as a post-evangelical pastor gets the better of him. That started… (25 Mar 2020 | 1 comment)
Steve Chalke is a British “Baptist minister, author, speaker, justice campaigner, broadcaster, social entrepreneur and former UN Special Advisor on Human Trafficking”, and the founder of the Oasis Trust. The Lost Message of Paul is his belated sequel to The Lost Message of Jesus,… (21 Mar 2020 | 4 comments)
In the Prologue to God Untamed Johannes Hartl tells the story of being stuck on Mount Athos in northern Greece in a ferocious storm. He has spent a few days on this isolated peninsula, in the skete of St Anna, with a friend walking and praying. Now they need to get to Thessaloniki to catch… (14 Feb 2020 | 0 comments)
It’s the period of Advent, when we traditionally reflect on the “coming” of Jesus into the world, so let’s consider the question of why he came when he did. Why was Jesus born in 4 BC or thereabouts, and not two hundred years earlier, or a thousand years later?I’m still making my way through… (11 Dec 2019 | 2 comments)
Still going strong here. In chapter three of Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ Matthew Bates sets out his version of the gospel narrative as a sequence of ten events, somewhat in the manner of the Apostles’ Creed (86-104). (I had a similar go at writing… (20 Nov 2019 | 0 comments)