Two of my closest friends got reviewed in PW this week. I’ve only read Jay’s, and I really, really liked it. Both books come out in January, so get ready to use those Amazon gift cards! Here are the reviews:
Scot McKnight. Zondervan, $14.99 trade paper (204p) ISBN 978-0-310-27766-8
In his latest book, McKnight, a professor of religious studies at North Park University in Chicago and the author of the acclaimed Jesus Creed, argues against the Christianity he was taught in his youth, an interpretation he finds overly fixated on the personal piety of believers rather than their influence in society. He contends instead that Jesus called believers to action and to the establishment of a world of justice, compassion, and peace. This scriptural reading is hardly new, but McKnight’s writing makes it fresh and engaging. His frequent pop culture references serve to draw in younger readers; other stylistic choices, such as unusual punctuation and line breaks, can distract from his message instead of creating a contemporary feel. Dividing the book into chapters addressing different aspects of a believer’s life, such as “church.life” and “sex.life,” McKnight combines knowledgeable scriptural exegesis with anecdotes drawn from his own life and his experiences with college students to provide insight into Jesus’ life and message. This results in a highly readable work that can serve as an excellent introduction to Jesus and his teachings for a new generation. (Jan.)
Jay Bakker with Martin Edlund. FaithWords, $19.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-446-53950-0
Bakker, son of famous televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye and pastor at Revolution Church in New York, stridently argues for a new emphasis on grace. After spending his teenage years reeling from family scandals and substance abuse, Bakker had almost given up on Christianity altogether until he discovered grace, which he understands as the love and salvation offered by God to all regardless of adherence to religious law. Interlacing anecdotes with exegesis of Paul’s letters (especially Galatians), Bakker shares stories of those who have experienced a three-part revolution of grace. Living with grace transforms God from harsh rule maker to loving abba (daddy), reorients individuals away from self-centeredness, and remakes society. His test for this final revolution is his call for acceptance of homosexuals, a position that he says grace demands. This emphasis might be troubling for more conservative Christians, even with his clear summary of how to read the Bible as condemning not homosexuality itself but forbidding rape, abuse of strangers, and paganism. Bakker’s tone and style are highly readable, even humorous, as he tackles serious theological issues. Overall, the book speaks more to those already convinced of grace, but provides ample reinforcement for that position. (Jan.)
via Religion in Review.