Review – Mystery of God by Steven D. Boyer and Christopher A. Hall

The Mystery of God: Theology for Knowing the Unknowable

by Christopher A. Hall [Baker Academic]
Rank/Rating: 923367/-
Price: $17.60

I received the electronic version of this book free in exchange for an honest review.

There will be some who will not like this book. They will give it low ratings and pontificate about watering down the gospel or how the authors are wrong on one point or another. They might even say the book is dangerous. There will be some whose minds and eyes are closed and believe they have figured out God and have God in a nice package that can be studied, dissected, and controlled.

The reason why some will not like this book is because Boyd and Hall strike at our pride in believing that we have or even can know God completely. They address God’s incomprehensibility and transcendence choosing to focus on the mystery of God while recognizing and hold tight to God’s revelatory nature. Mystery serves to remind us, that God is God and we are not. Our thoughts are not God’s thoughts and even our best thought about God pales in comparison to his glory. It is a good book and I believe an important book.

There are two main sections. The first section discusses the need for mystery in our theology. The authors do a wonderful job in moving their readers from an introduction to mystery through a historical account of mystery and then finally to a place where mystery can be utilized as one thinks theologically. The second section outlines how mystery can help in understanding several, apparently, paradoxical (some would say contradictory) theological issues such as the Trinity, God’s sovereignty and humanity’s completely freedom to choose, Jesus as both human and divine, the why and how of prayer (if God knows all things, why should I ask or tell him anything?), and finally, how Christians can learn from others.

The book is well thought out and written. Each chapter builds on concepts and arguments given in earlier chapters, so it feels like the authors are taking you on a journey. The destination seemed to be the possibility of Christians learning about God from non-Christian religions. I believe it will be the last chapter that will cause individuals the most disdain, but it also seems it is where the authors want Christian theologians to arrive. Some may not make it that far. Some will not like the conclusions the authors draw about what may be viewed as essential beliefs and theological stances.

I encourage readers to finish the book out and give the authors fair hearing. Near the end of the book they do give some warnings, dangers, and cautions. They are not encouraging one to move outside of orthodox faith, but to recognize that God, in God’s essence is transcendent. They are encouraging humility, not only in our spiritual life, but also in how we think about God and what those outside our “camp” might have to say.

I highly recommend this book. It was enjoyable to read. The authors are versed in philosophy, theology, and the history of the church. Their discussions are well thought out and they take time to address potential questions and concerns. The book also brought me to places of worship as I contemplated how far God is beyond me, but how he is also close to me. It caused me to be thankful because God has revealed himself in Jesus. It also brought me expectant anticipation of growing in knowledge, grace, and humility as I seek him.


Review: Jesus: A Theography by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola

Jesus: A Theography

by Leonard Sweet [Thomas Nelson]
Rank/Rating: 208283/-
Price: $9.04

I received an advance electronic copy of this book for an honest review.

I had looked forward to reading this book, but I had no idea what was in store for me. I’ve heard and read that all of Scripture can be read through the lens of Christ, but I had felt, at times, some of the observations were a bit stretched. I have to admit Sweet and Viola have not only convinced me that Jesus is the center, the point, and focus of both testaments, but they have also inspired me to read the bible differently. A few times I felt a bit overwhelmed by Jesus and Scripture.
Continue reading “Review: Jesus: A Theography by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola”

Book Review: Viral – Dr. Leonard Sweet

Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival

by Leonard Sweet [WaterBrook]
Rank/Rating: 611710/-
Price: $7.80

Full Disclosure: I received this book as a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

I must start out by confessing that I am a Leonard Sweet fan. I was unaware of how much a fan I was until I read his book Viral. Through 198 pages Sweet leads an expedition into two convergent cultures. That of the written word (Gutenbergers) and that of the technological (Googlers). The goal is to get the Gutenbergers to realize it is a Googler world and if we are going to be faithful to the call of God we must be willing to not only recognize the changes in our culture, but find ways to connect and love in this new world.
Continue reading “Book Review: Viral – Dr. Leonard Sweet”

How God Became King

N. T. Wright has a new book out called When God Became King. In it he argues that we have been misreading the Gospels. I pre-ordered the book about a month before it came out and was exited when it showed up on my Kindle last week. Since I’m still reading it, I am not going to comment. However, here is a video if you are interested in what Wright might have to say:

 

Theology Blogging Tour (Philip Clayton & Harvey Cox)

Philip Clayton and Harvey Cox both have new books out and they are taking them out on tour. One of the blog tour stops will be here, but as you can see below they will be making their rounds over the next month until they wrap things up in Montreal at the American Academy of Religion‘s annual meeting. There they will be joined by an illustrious panel including Eric Gregory, Bruce Sanguin, Serene Jones, Frank Tupper, and Andrew Sung Park to share a ‘Big Idea’ for the future of the Church. These ‘Big Ideas’ will be video tapped and shared, so be on the look out for live footage from the last night of the tour.

Philip’s new book is Transforming Christian Theology for Church & Society and Harvey’s is The Future of Faith. Both are worth checking out at one of the many tour stops. If you can’t wait you can listen to them interview each other. Enjoy the blogging!

Here is a list of individuals participating in the tour: Joseph Weethee , Jonathan Bartlett, The Church Geek, Jacob’s Cafe, Reverend Mommy, Steve Knight, Todd Littleton, Christina Accornero, John David Ryan, LeAnn Gunter Johns, Chase Andre, Matt Moorman, Gideon Addington, Ryan Dueck, Rachel Marszalek, Amy Moffitt, Josh Wallace, Jonathan Dodson, Stephen Barkley, Monty Galloway, Colin McEnroe, Tad DeLay, David Mullens, Kimberly Roth, Tripp Hudgins, Tripp Fuller, Greg Horton, Andrew Tatum, Drew Tatusko, Sam Andress, Susan Barnes, Jared Enyart, Jake Bouma, Eliacin Rosario-Cruz, Blake Huggins, Lance Green, Scott Lenger, Dan Rose, Thomas Turner, Les Chatwin, Joseph Carson, Brian Brandsmeier, J. D. Allen, Greg Bolt, Tim Snyder, Matthew L. Kelley, Carl McLendon, Carter McNeese, David R. Gillespie, Arthur Stewart, Tim Thompson, Joe Bumbulis, Bob Cornwall
This Tour is Sponsored by Transforming Theology DOT org!