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Book Reviews

By Various.

Speaking of Women, Interpreting Paul

Andrew Perriman

Apollos (imprint of Inter Varsity Press), Leicester, England; 237; £19.99; ISBN 0 85111 458 X

In his introduction Perriman states that the division of opinions over the relation of man and woman and the role of women in Christian ministry is very serious. Many Christians believe that the Church should be faithful to biblical patriarchy, teaching the subordination of woman to man in the family and in the Church; others are 'egalitarian', affirming that the Church is not bound by Scripture to place women under authority in marriage and ministry.

Paul in 1 Cor. 11.3 and Eph. 5.23 says that man is the 'head' of the woman. The term 'head' is viewed as holding a position of authority over others. Many recent theologians interpret that word as 'source' or 'origin'. Since Paul in 1 Cor. 11.13 affirms that Christ is the head of every man, the man is the head of woman, and God is the head of Christ, it is not feasible to view every husband as the head of his wife as God is the head of Christ. Herodotus stated, "The heads of the river Tearos supply the best and finest water of all rivers" . Perriman, however, is not impressed with this solution since it cannot apply to Eph. 5.23-24. He considers that if Christ's headship of the Church is accompanied by subordination of the Church to Christ, it is fitting that as long as the man has the prominence that a patriarchal society attributes to him the woman should be submitted to him.

The author however follows this part of the discussion with a chapter on 'The outstanding ministry of women'. Paul applies to women the same language in the work of the gospel as he does to men: they are 'co-workers', they have 'laboured' in the Lord, they have 'struggled together' with Paul in founding churches. See especially Rom. 16.6, 12 and Phil. 4.2-3. Also Rom. 12.1f commends Phoebe as a 'diakonos' of the church in Cenchrea - the context suggests that the term means 'deacon' rather than 'servant', in which case 1 Tim. 3.11 is likely to apply to women deacons. It is also probable that in Rom. 16.7 the name 'Junia' is a feminine name - Junia being a feminine apostle.

1 Cor. 11.5 demands that women pray or prophesy with the head veiled, implying that if they pray or prophesy without a veil they dishonour their husbands. Prophets are always listed before teachers and are given greater prominence in Eph. 4.11-16. But 1 Cor. 14.26 includes teaching in the list of spiritual gifts, and there is no reason to think that Paul excluded women from participating in such ministry, despite 1 Cor. 14.33b-35, which some early manuscripts place after v.40, a change of place which is commonly a sign of interpolation. Perriman doubts that this happened. He believes that Paul's restriction of the ministry of women is due to the cultural circumstances of the Church's mission, which in his time was opposed by the prejudices of pagan writers and even of Jewish members of Christian churches. It is not surprising that in 1 Tim. 2.11-15, Paul writes, "Let a woman learn in quietness in all submission", followed by, "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man". Such is the rendering of the NIV but it is a doubtful interpretation of the term 'authenteo'. That term is unique in the NT, but it has extensive meanings in classic Greek. Perriman admits the difficulty to capture the exact sense of 'authenteo' in English, but holds that its meaning in v.12 is 'to exert influence over'. Paul asks that women commit themselves to learning the word of God with a willingness to accept its authenticity.

The creation of man and woman as described in Genesis is offset by the recreation of men and women in Christ which is the theme of the NT. In ancient society man has prominence on account of his role in the public sphere which gives him greater visibility and significance than a woman can have when confined to the sphere of the home. Generally this meant that the man was in a position of social and economic advantage. The woman was regarded as his possession, his slave, his ward, his housekeeper, or as a device for the generation of sons. The Biblical ideal remains the life-long, faithful union of man and woman as the foundation of the family. There will always be some differentiation of roles both in the public and private domains. This ideal is not jeopardised , however, by an adjustment of authority structures. It is not immoral for men and women to treat each other as equals.

There is however a need for reconciliation. The Church is being tom apart, and something needs to be done about it. Exegesis can help if it is candid, critical and constructive. But as we struggle towards scholarly consensus something more fundamental is required: that is for pastors, theologians, teachers and all believers to stretch themselves across the divide, to love one another, and serve one another, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.

Such is the conclusion of the discussion by Perriman. It is a masterly review of the problems entailed by it. All branches of the Churches should benefit by it enormously.

G R Beasley-Murray

Is there a meaning in this text? The Bible, the Reader and the Morality of Literary

Knowledge

Kevin J Vanhoozer

Zondervan/Apollos, 1998; 496pp; £14.99; ISBN 0 85111 463 6

This is a tough read in two important senses. First, it is intellectually demanding. It is a serious engagement with some of the most pressing problems before preachers and all who read and interpret the Bible. It is tough reading because of its depth and intellectual rigour.

But it is tough is a second sense. It is powerfully committed. Slipshod and easy answers to demanding questions are exposed as such.

Kevin Vanhoozer used to teach at the University of Edinburgh but now has moved to Trinity International Seminary. He has given us a theology of interpretation of texts. As such he engages with Derrida and Fish and others who raise the questions as to whether we can talk about a text having a meaning. He carefully defends the notion of authorial intention. He wants to argue that we must distinguish between a text's meaning as the authorial intention (the true meaning) and the significance of that meaning (which may admit of several interpretations).

Vanhoozer's own position is trinitarian. Those who persevere to the end of the book will come to a fine conclusion stressing the communitarian nature of interpretation, based on a trinitarian hermeneutic. The work is one of strong theology. It is a clear challenge to post-modern theories and assumptions.

Is this a book for the local pastor? Only, 1 think, if she has a ready knowledge of the basic argument in hermeneutics. The book is not for the beginner. And it does take some reading. But beyond all doubt, it should be in theological college libraries and will become an important text for those advanced modules in hermeneutics.

Brian Haymes

Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Biblical and Theological Essays

C F D Moule

SPCK1998; 242pages; £25.00; ISBN 0.281.05139.9

The essays by Professor C F D Moule included in this volume have all appeared in previous years in books of varied kinds, either as contributions - Festschriften for notable scholars or works that were delivered as lectures or articles in journals. These writings therefore cover the greater part of Professor Moule's career as a lecturer in the University of Cambridge. He has a singular knowledge of the Biblical languages, to say nothing of modern languages also, and has gained a profound knowledge of theology. When C H Dodd retired from being Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity in Cambridge, C F D Moule was asked to succeed him, but Moule declined on the ground that he was unworthy, an indication of his humility. Fortunately he was persuaded to accept the position, and became a very popular professor who always had time to give private help to his students.

One subject dominates this collection of essays, as the title suggests - forgiveness and reconciliation, the heart of the New Testament and of Christian Theology. The author has divided them into six groups: The Theology of Forgiveness, Christology, the Holy Spirit, the Eucharist, Jesus Traditions, the Authority of Scripture. It may be wondered how the professor has related them, but he has skilfully achieved it by his mode of exposition. The longest treatment is given in the opening chapter to the subject of greatest concern to the author. He has divided it into four parts under the titles, The Scope of the Death of Christ , Preaching the Atonement, Reflections on So-Called Triumphalism, Retribution or Restoration. The first of those themes is very carefully treated in the light of the frequent references that Christians make to Christ's death as 'for us' (huper hemon). The meaning of that language can be applied to a variety of situations - wars, Abraham's readiness to sacrifice Isaac, the request of Moses to die for the forgiveness of Israel's worship of the golden calf, the trial and death of Socrates, the sacrifice to God of millions of animals for the sins of humanity, etc. In the New Testament the one tru1y redemptive atonement for sins is the death of Christ, for in that death God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself and linked it with the resurrection, so making it available for all humanity and all times. Professor Moule affirms, "In a word it is incarnation and resurrection that lends distinctiveness to the Christian phrase "Christ died for us" . It is the fait accompli of the cross, plus the constant accessibility of the risen Christ, and the universal scope of God's action in Christ' (pp.13-14).

The detailed argument of this section of the book is very impressive, and every theme of the rest of the volume is dealt with in superb clarity, illuminating the essentials of the revelation of God in Christ. The longest single article in the book is on the Eucharist. If the churches have differences of interpretation concerning baptism, they differ still more over the Eucharist, but Moule's position could lead all the Christian confessions to a joint worship which includes the Lord's Supper. The section on the Jesus Traditions is an excellent discussion on the gospels and their relations. The closing article deals with the Authority of Scripture; it brings to a climax the relation of the Holy Spirit and Scripture and shows how the Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity held a balance between reason and the illumination of the Holy Spirit in the matter of Biblical interpretation; it is a moving experience to read it.

I am grateful that Professor Moule decided to let this book see the light of day. It will surely clarify the Christian Faith for all who read it and will enrich the preaching of it by the pastors of the churches.

G R Beasley-Murray

Preaching to the Nations

Alan Le Grys

SPCK, London, 1998; xx+220pp; £15.99; ISBN 0 281 05148 8

Alan Le Grys sets out in this detailed study to question the assumption which he believes to be held by the majority of Christians that mission to the Gentiles was a driving force for the churches in the period during which the New Testament was being written. He further questions whether this Gentile mission had its origins in the teaching of Jesus. His conclusion is that neither assumption is correct. In fact, the mission to the Gentiles was theologised 'on the hoof' as circumstances forced the early church to alter and adapt its practices to suit the developing situation in which it found itself.

Although I enjoyed reading this book, I found it strangely unsatisfying. One reason is that I was left in some doubt as to who are the intended audience. Is this book intended to be scholarly or popular? For me it falls into the gap in the middle. It will certainly annoy those who regard the recorded words of Jesus as being exactly as he spoke them, yet stops short of saying that he did not! For example, in Le Grys' view, the gospels are "post-Pauline texts which reflect the perspectives and concerns of late first-century Christianity" (p.168).

There is much here worth the effort of working at this book. For example, Le Grys explores the origins of Christian missionary thinking in the Old Testament Scriptures, in contemporary Judaism and in the early Christian community, then moves on to examine the gospels in their historical context to look for signs of the agenda of the early church. For anyone coming to the subject for the first time, this is a thoroughly useful overview of the subject. I suspect therefore that the author, who is Principal of the South East Institute for Theological Education, had his students in mind as he wrote. It is a good, informative read, but I am not sure it really justifies the £15.99 price tag, unless a theological college library want to purchase several copies for use by their students.

Alun Brookfield

Science and Theology - An Introduction

John Polkinghorne

SPCK 1998; 144pp; £10.99; ISBN 0 281 05176 3

Two historical incidents stand out, in many people's minds, as representing a dichotomy between science and religion. The discoveries of Galileo in the seventeenth century, and the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species two centuries later, presented at the time a major challenge to the teaching of the church. Since then there has been a kind of uneasy peace between the two sides, and many Christians, fearing that as science advances so God retreats, see science as a threat to their faith.

It need not be so. The last twenty or so years has seen a resurgence of interest in the relationship between science and religion, and it is now a rapidly expanding area of study. The nature of science, and the nature of religion, are being examined anew, and are seen to be partners, not antagonists, in humankind's voyage of discovery.

This is the view that John Polkinghorne expounds in his slim paperback. In 144 pages he manages to explore all the main themes in the current debate. The paradoxes of quantum mechanics, chaos theory, and the discoveries of cosmology are linked with the nature of God, the existence of evil, the nature of consciousness and the presence of divine action in a world governed by natural laws. This book, says the author, is an attempt to provide a textbook, surveying the whole intellectual scene in an even handed manner in a way which is accessible to the non specialist.

The non specialist must, however, be prepared to be intellectually challenged. These are difficult questions with no easy answers. The collapse of wave function and Gödel's incompleteness theorem are not subjects for dinner party chat. Yet Polkinghorne skilfully weaves these insights of science into a picture of God from which a firm faith can only gain.

A particularly good feature of the book is its extensive bibliography.

Michael J Wood

Dictionary of Biblical Imagery

Leland Ryken, James C.Wilhoit, Tremper Longman III (General Editors)

IVP, Illinois & Leicester, 1998; 1058pp; hardback £29.99; ISBN 0 85111 753 8

Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters

Donald K.McKim

IVP, Illinois & Leicester, 1998; 643pp; hardback £24.99

IVP are to be congratulated on their production of two major works of reference. Both are primarily the work of North American scholars, although some British input is present too.

The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery is very comprehensive and in many ways lives up to its claim to be "an encyclopaedic exploration of the images, symbols, motifs, metaphors, figures of speech and literary patterns of the Bible". Although not a scholarly work as such in the sense that its primary audience is lay people, it is clearly a work by scholars. Perhaps inevitably in such a wide-ranging dictionary, there tends to be little depth to the articles. Occasionally short bibliographies are provided, but they tend to be strangely eclectic. A full Scripture index is provided at the back.

A much more interesting work, precisely because it is without parallel, is the Handbook of Major Interpreters. Organised by periods of church history, there are six sections dealing with biblical interpretation in the early church, the middle ages, the 16th & 17th centuries, the 18th & 19th centuries, Europe in the 20th century, and North America in the 20th century, respectively. Although this reference work does not claim to be exhaustive (it is primarily Western and male), it is nonetheless unusually comprehensive. For instance, in the section dealing with Biblical interpretation in Europe in the 20th century such scholars as C K Barrett, F F Bruce, W D. Davies, H W Robinson, and Adolf Schlatter are included as well as Karl Barth, C H Dodd, Joachim Jeremias, and Gerhard von Rad. The bibliographies are extensive and there are indices of persons and subjects. Although theological students will no doubt make most use of this volume, preachers will also gain from this helpful overview of scholarship.

Paul Beasley-Murray

The Complete Bible Handbook

John Bowker (Ed)

Dorling Kindersley, London 1998; 544pp; £25 hardback; ISBN 0 7513 1112 X

It has been an overwhelming experience skimming through the pages of this book - the depth of comment and the breadth of interest almost leaving me breathless.

This book is neat. It is presented in five types of double-paged spread: Book, Story, Backgrounds, History, and Theology. The graphics are exceptional, the text clear and immaculate, stimulating further reading by its accessibility and its variety of content. It is this very variety of presentation that grabs the attention as the pages are turned. It is stunning!

The double-page spread entitled 'About This Book' is concise and informative and entices the reader to eagerly search through the book. The A-Z of People and of Places as also the Glossary are comprehensive and fascinating. It all reads so simply. The Bibliography numbers 844 authors and there is a further General Reference section, comprising commentaries, atlases, concordances, biographies, CD readings and daily readings.

For this Lay Reader, the book is a mine of information and is a pleasure to read. The book was so absorbing that it was difficult to stop to assess the content. Each page is a delightful hors d'oeuvre - the whole book, a feast. My one complaint - it is too heavy to take to bed!

Ursula Franklin

New Era, New Church?

Steve Chalke with Sue Radford

HarperCollins, 1999; xix+236pp; £8.99; ISBN 0 00 274026 5

Steve Chalke is well known as a broadcaster and as Director of Oasis Trust. Sue Radford is Project Director of Fanfare for a New Generation, a Christian charity 'committed to putting Jesus Christ centre stage of the millennial celebrations'. This book is an exposition of their 'New Millennium Challenge to the Churches'.

The challenge consists of ten pledges which the churches are being encouraged to commit themselves to for the beginning of the third millennium. These ten challenges are listed in Paul Beasley-Murray's article "The Countdown to the Millennium Has Begun" earlier in this journal. Each chapter consists of an exploration of one of these challenges, followed by some ideas for putting it into practice and a list of appropriate resource providers.

Sadly, there is nothing really new here (although, as a partially deaf person, I welcomed the chapter about helping people to hear clearly). Most of these ideas have been around for many years and I was left with the usual feeling of "that's all very well, but how do we get there from here?". In particular, tiny rural congregations, doing an excellent job of representing Christ in their local community, could be made to feel like failures by the contents of a book like this.

Having said all that, this book is worth buying if only for the wonderful quotations which illuminate the rather dull text. The chief value of the ten challenges themselves is that they provide a useful benchmark against which congregations can measure their life and activity.

Alun Brookfield

A New Start? Hopes and Dreams for the New Millennium

Rob Frost and David Wilkinson

Hodder and Stoughton, London,1999; 199pp; £6.99; ISBN 0 340 71389 5

Worship 2000 - Resources to Celebrate the New Millennium

Peter Atkins

Fount, London, 1999; xiv + 210pp; £12.99; ISBN 0 00 599377 6

As the millennium approaches, we are being deluged by books and projects, all of which include '2000' or 'new millennium' in their titles. One cannot help wondering whether all this increased publishing activity is going to actually make a difference. Here, however, are two books I am happy to commend.

Frost and Wilkinson are Methodist clergy who are both very much in touch with the world beyond the church. Their little book provides a populist analysis of our culture and pleads for a new way of approaching society, the environment, work, science and technology, relationships, life, the arts, the poor and spirituality. Although intended for use by a (house?) group, I feel it will be of more use to preachers in trying to address these issues from the pulpit. Although I wonder why other issues were not dealt with (e.g. education, war, money, power, politics), this is a useful overview of life in the late 1990's.

I found Bishop Peter Atkins' book somewhat perplexing as the title describes only the second half of the book, a wonderful source of original material specially written for this publication and therefore mostly not available elsewhere.

The first half of the book consists of Bishop Peter's personal reflections on Christian origins, prayer and worship and how they relate to this particular date in our calendar. There is some useful material here for worship leaders and preachers, but I was unable to escape the feeling that it was doing little more than provide padding to justify the £12.99 price. Even with that reservation, however, I commend this book as a valuable resource to anyone wanting to bring an original and fresh approach to worship in the coming few months.

Alun Brookfield

Way of St Ignatius: Finding God in All Things.

Margaret Hebblethwaite

Fount, London, 1999 edition; 228pp; £7.99; lSBN 0 00 628101 X.

Experienced retreat giver and spiritual director, Margaret Hebblethwaite, has written a contemporary introduction to Ignatian spirituality that is both practical and explanatory. Written by a woman, who elsewhere is particularly concerned about women's spirituality, it is by no means a 'woman's book' which the men can ignore! This is the best introduction to Ignatian spirituality that I know of for both men and women, and is both generous and flexible.

Margaret Hebblethwaite notes that "The Ignation school of prayer is rich and comprehensive because it teaches not so much by giving a method as by helping people notice what the Spirit is doing in them ...". The book is not a DIY retreat, but it does suggest some prayerful exercises. To benefit from the Spiritual Exercises a spiritual director is essential. Nonetheless, if you want to decide if Ignatian spirituality is for you, then this book provides a helpful way in. If you know that Ignatian spirituality is for you, then you will want to buy this book anyway.

Paul Goodliff

Jesus Man of Prayer. Expanding Your Horizons in Prayer

Margaret Magdalen CSMV

Eagle, Guildford, 1987; 239pp; £7.99; ISBN 0 86347256 7

Praying With Jesus. Experiencing the spiritual riches of the Lord's Prayer

Rob Warner.

Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1999; 207pp; £6.99; ISBN 0 340 72182 0

Reviewing these two books together has been a fascinating experience. The authors are in some ways poles apart. Sister Margaret Magdalen is an 'elder stateswoman' of the Anglican contemplative world, while Rob Warner is one of the 'young turks' of evangelical, charismatic Baptist life. Yet, with this reprint of Margaret Magdalen's book originally published ten years ago as part of Hodder's The Jesus Library and with Rob Warner's new book (which is worthy of far more shelf life than its Lent '99 labelling), we encounter two very similar books.

Both draw heavily on Scripture, both are warmly evangelical in theology, yet both have a breadth of spirituality which is evidence to me that evangelicalism is now self-confident enough to recognise the good things of God elsewhere (although some will see it, of course, as further evidence that evangelicalism has sold its birthright for a mess of liberal pottage!).

Margaret Magdalen's book has established itself as a classic of modern spiritual devotion. Its theme is broader than Rob Warner's in that it embraces the whole of the Scriptural evidence about the prayer life of Jesus, from the prayer of desolation to the Lord's prayer, and much besides. Each instance of prayer in the life of Christ is used as a spring board to a type of prayerfulness today: praying in solitude, with liturgy, intercession, praying through the Scriptures and so forth. It is a rich book which explores its theme in conversation with the spiritual greats of history.

Rob Warner's book follows the familiar pattern of the 'Our Father' with a closing chapter on the meaning and power of the Lord's supper. As one has come to expect of this author, it is well written, imaginatively illustrated and faithful to Scripture. Each section includes a biblical meditation and a selection of devotional poems.

In both books you will meet by the Spirit the Lord who prayed 'Our Father...' and so I want to commend them both. If I were to distinguish between them, I suppose that I might value Margaret's book for the depth of its insight and Rob's for its usefulness in preaching on the Lord's Prayer.

Paul Goodliff.

The Way of the Heart

Henri J M Nouwen

DLT; 86pp; £6.95; ISBN 0 232 52300 2

This book was first published in 1981 and has been reprinted regularly ever since. Nouwen was the Dutch Roman Catholic priest famous for his books on spirituality who left the world of Harvard and Yale to act as pastor to L'Arche Daybreak Community for people with mental disabilities. Like his later book, 'In the name of Jesus', this is written particularly for pastors. 'The Way of the Heart' comes from the wisdom of the fifth century Egyptian Desert Fathers and he applies their understanding to our lives as busy ministers. "Flee, be silent and pray" are three ways of preventing the world from squeezing us into its mould.

His training as a clinical psychologist adds to his insights: the compulsive minister - and his frozen anger, "When my sense of self depends on what others say of me anger is a quite natural reaction to a critical word"; Silence, "Makes us pilgrims, guards the fire within and teaches us to speak". How can I pray when there is an insurmountable pile of activities? His answer is the prayer of the Heart, the very simplest of one word prayers. He uses vivid images - "Our wordy world is like driving through a huge dictionary", stories from the mystics and insights from Scripture. As with all his writing it is from within and it speaks not just to our heads and hearts but to our lives.

Julian Reindorp

Wounded Prophet, A Portrait of Henri J M Nouwen

Michael Ford

DLT; xiv + 242pp; £9.95; ISBN 0 232 52274 X

I enjoyed this book, the first major portrait of Nouwen. Michael Ford, journalist and broadcaster, gives us a vivid and well researched picture of this remarkable man, a wounded prophet who wrote over forty books, trained as a priest and as a clinical psychologist, taught at Harvard and Yale and in his fifties became the first pastor to a L'Arche community for people with mental disabilities. The warmth and insight with which Nouwen writes is borne out in his daily contacts and care of people - a single meeting with him could change your life. In 1994 in a survey of Protestant Church leaders in America he was named as their second greatest influence, ahead of Billy Graham. This man experienced deep depression and in his need valued physical holding, at times he could hardly drag himself out of bed yet he could still find the energy to write. As Ford says, "Through his priesthood, his writings and his teaching he put people in touch with God, with each other and with themselves, but he seemed out of touch to the degree to which his unrelenting schedule was taxing his own health".

Late in life he came to terms with the fact he was gay, but the essence of his struggle was with his humanity rather than his sexuality. He was on a profound spiritual journey in which he let millions share. A mixture of evangelical preacher, Harvard intellectual and Catholic Saint, his books are selling even more since he died in 1996. Ford divides his book into three sections: Heart - outlines some of the important themes of his life; Mind - describes his life from birth till he left the academic world to join L'Arche; Body - covers the last and perhaps the most significant decade of his life. He knew doubt and anguish, resurrection and joy. He discovered that it was from the wounded places in himself that he could reach the wounded places in others. He often writes for ministers and as I've found he soothes our wounds and pricks our egos. He had the absent mindedness of the professor. He gave his favourite lecture about Vincent Van Gogh to a huge audience of nuns. After the two hour presentation the Mother Superior thanked him but, "We asked you to speak about our founder Vincent de Paul".

He and Thomas Merton appeal to different audiences but they are both spiritual prophets of the second half of our century. If you have never read any Nouwen this is a good place to start. If you have found him a help this will move you and inspire you afresh. A summary of his life, a list of all his writings, a series of photos and good index complete this satisfying book.

Julian Reindorp

At the Cross. Meditations on people who were there.

Richard Bauckham and Trevor Hart

Darton, Longman and Todd, London, 1999; 132 pp; £8.95; ISBN 0 232 52311 8

It has become something of minor genre to invite theological heavyweights to write Lent Books. Is it that large sectors of the church only read during Lent, as some kind of penance? Or is this a way of helping readers encounter some theology unawares? I do not know, but some great books have been written in this genre (I think of Tom Wright's The Crown and the Fire.)

The authors help us use our imagination to join those who were there at the cross, to see it through their eyes and to respond to the One dying there : Mary of Bethany, Judas lscariot, Peter, Ciaphas, Pilate, Simon of Cyrene, Mary Magdalene amongst others. Written in a clear style, the chapters betray their origins in services that Bauckham and Hart led in St Andrew's church in St Andrew's in 1996 and 1997. Yet they are more than rewritten sermons. Each character is introduced by Scripture and a marvellous woodcut by Helen Firth, and the close of each chapter includes prayers and meditations. Annoyingly, the font was hard to read.

It could be used in groups quite successfully, or personally, and I am going to commend it to my House Groups for use in January-March 2000. It will also influence my choice of preaching in the same period. I wonder if it will influence you in the same way. Above all else, and apart from its pragmatic value, I met the dying yet risen Lord in its pages. Meet him too.

Paul Goodliff

Counselling in Context - Developing a Theological Framework

Francis Bridger and David Atkinson

DLT; 321pp; £14.95; ISBN 0 232 52292 8

A bishop and a therapist were discussing the possibilities of setting up a Christian Counselling centre - what might be helpful for them to read, they asked? This book, I suggested. It is rich in insights and packed with the kind of material that the bishop and the therapist needed to wrestle with. This is a broad book that sets out the questions that need to be asked about the context of the whole counselling movement, its social setting, its implications for society, its psychological context and its philosophical/theological context. They argue that the kind of individualism on which counselling has so often been based is anti-Biblical, anti-Christian and therapeutically undesirable. The best place for counselling is within the context of a therapeutic community (such as the church). Yet they do not plump for simple solutions, they argue for a "kind of critical perspectivalism in which no discipline is allowed hegemony or totality of explanation but in which all disciplines subject themselves to mutual criticism".

The first edition of this book that came out five years ago was warmly reviewed: "Comprehensive, concise, learned and thoughtful…it demands to be read" (Church Times). It covers a huge amount of ground about counselling, with particular focus on those who are working from a Christian perspective or within a Christian context. They summarise developments in a wide range of areas from stages of faith to the insights that have developed since Freud, both positive and negative. It majors in the second half of the book on the theological perspective, the insights and resources of the Biblical tradition, and then focuses, in the section on the basis of hope, on the key question of the goal of counselling,

For this new edition there is a chapter on 'Counselling in a Post-modern Context' (some 20 pages based on the Frank Lake Memorial Lecture on Christian Counselling and the challenge of post-modernity given by Francis Bridger in 1997). I am not suggesting that previous purchasers would buy this revised edition as well but there is a good summary of the difference between post-modernism and post-modernity and sections on four themes at the heart of post-modernism - narrative, truth, power and the self. The reference section for this chapter is the longest in the book.

This is an excellent resource for people considering the context of any Christian counselling and it also provides an overview that would provoke discussion among anyone involved at any level in this field which has come to play such a dominant part in Western society. Only criticism - why no index for a major book?

Julian Reindorp

 

 

Pathways to Wholeness. Pastoral Care in a Postmodern Age.

Roger Hurding.

Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1998; 464 pp; £12.99; ISBN 0 340 67129 7

I was chairman of the Conference called 'Pathways to Wholeness' in which Roger Hurding first, I think, articulated his overview of these pathways to wholeness. That the sapling of that seminar should grow into the mighty tree of this substantial book is remarkable, not least for the degree of physical illness Roger has suffered during the period of its gestation. He remains one of the 'Fathers in God' of the pastoral care and counselling movement that grew out of Care and Counsel in the early 1980s and which is now so widely represented among a broadly mainstream church in Britain. This is a major contribution to the understanding of that movement, both in the sense of helping that movement understand its cultural context, and in helping to understand the agenda of that movement.

I was immediately struck by the sheer breadth of engagement with contemporary culture and with theological and psychological disciplines. There have been other 'big books' on contemporary culture and the Christian faith (Carson's The Gagging of God, especially), but I am glad to say that Roger Hurding's book is less defensive than most.

He explores the possibilities of making maps in the postmodern world ('maps' resonates with his earlier Roots and Shoots,) and in Part 1, The Territory, he describes the landscape of postmodernity. This is difficult material and he does not seek to trivialise what is complex. This is a description of the landscape. Having explored the same territory myself, I wish that he had published before I had written!

Part 2 looks at ways of charting the territory of pastoral care and then at five dimensions of its calling : Biblical counselling which transforms the mind, healing, pastoral counselling, spiritual direction and social change. Throughout the book is Trinitarian, Scriptural and generous hearted. I believe it to be more substantial and more theologically literate than its predecessor Roots and Shoots, and a book that every thinking practitioner of pastoral care will want to have on her or his shelf. But I would not want to underestimate its demands upon the reader, for they are substantial. Perhaps the next book could be more accessible to the every day practitioner, but I'll stick with this one and commend it warmly.

Paul Goodliff

The Bible and Healing: A medical and theological commentary

John Wilkinson

Handsel Press Ltd., Edinburgh, 1998; ISBN 0 802838 26 X

Healing: Broader and Deeper

Robert Gillies

Handsel Press 1998; 184pp; ISBN 1 871828 43 0

The author is uniquely placed as a graduate in Medicine and Divinity to write on this subject. His former book, Health and Healing: Studies in New Testament Principles and Practice, is now out of print and the present book has been developed to incorporate much new material, both medical and biblical, so that we have a kind of medical commentary on the Bible.

The introductory section looks at the various understandings of health that are found in the Old and New Testaments. The second part considers disease and healing in the Old Testament with attempts being made to identify the various diseases that are mentioned and explore also what the Old Testament means by healing. The third section deals with healing in the Gospels, and focuses on the words for healing, the approach to healing and the methods used. Three miracles are chosen for fuller treatment: the epileptic boy, the bent woman and the man born blind. Part four is concerned with healing in the apostolic church and here considerable attention is given to 'the thorn in the flesh' and James' instructions for healing.

The final section addresses healing in the church today. Its starting point is Jesus' healing commission to his disciples and its conclusion as a discussion of the practice of the church's healing ministry today.

This is a serious, worthwhile, carefully referenced and researched book. It is well written and is theologically balanced providing a good cross between the Bible and medicine. A depth of study is reflected in the work, which is worthy of a read if you are interested in this subject. If there are any criticisms, it would be that the distinctly medicalised perspective predominates and this influences how the charismatic aspect is handled.

It stands in sharp contrast to Robert Gillies' book .This is a gentle book of reflection upon a personal journey by the author. The first part of the book comprises five reflective essays which seek to address different aspects of the healing ministry in the church:

1. The churches' involvement in the healing ministry;

2. The role of individual Christian in the healing ministry;

3. The place of forgiveness in healing;

  1. The healing commissions of Jesus;
  2. The problem of pain.

Part 2 begins with a look at the meaning of the Greek words used for healing in the New Testament, which is then followed by six chapters of expository notes on the New Testament passages which utilise these words.

For those who look for something of a gentle nature around this subject, this may be a start, but not a very robust and well argued one - more a gentle reflection upon themes with no kind of significant structure through it all.

Derek Fraser

The Changing Face of Health Care - a Christian appraisal of managed care, resource allocation and patient caregiver relationships.

Edited by JF Kilner, RD Orr & JA Shelly

Paternoster Press, Cumbria 1998; 314pp; ISBN 0 85364 864 6

When this book arrived for review I assumed a quick scan would suffice, thinking this would be an easy read. It proved to be fascinating, challenging and very worthwhile.

A common phenomenon in healthcare is change, not only to structures but also to clinical practices and the very climate in which healthcare takes place. While much has been written on this in terms of economics and professionalism, the distinctiveness of this book is that such issues are addressed from a specifically Christian viewpoint.

Reflecting that healthcare in the USA is always ahead of the UK scene we have here a valuable insight into the present context and a discerning of where it may go . This book not only serves as a critique of current healthcare but provides in some chapters an excellent exposition of the right way forward, challenging graciously but surely, the ethics of the marketplace and suggesting that we canvas unashamedly for Christian values.

This book provides an encouraging, empowering message to Christians not to be timid or reserved, but rather to speak out on the values we hold dear. Nigel Cameron in his chapter on 'A theological mandate for Medicine' pleads winsomely the need for a dissident community.

Each chapter is written by different authors from different contexts which provides a rich diversity. Some chapters are more appealing than others, and some more analytical and reflective. A rich collection is provided here. A helpful conclusion which endeavours to adapt the material to the UK scene ensures that the book's message is not lost in translation.

Derek Fraser

Matters of Life and Death - Today's Health Care Dilemmas in the light of Christian Faith

John Wyatt

IVP 1998 London; ISBN 0 85111 588 8

This book began life as the London Lectures in Contemporary Christianity in which the author addressed some of the crucial issues at the start and end of life - genetics, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia - in the context of current trends in medicine. The tone is set early on by Wyatt:: "As Christians we must never reduce medical ethics to cold theology and unfeeling moral principal. We must never forget the human pain that lies behind every ethical dilemma."

Seven case studies from the headlines (e.g. Tony Bland, Mandy Attwood, the mercy killing of Lillian Boyes) set the stage. This excellent book allows one to enter into the world of this prominent Neonatal Paediatrician in a leading London hospital. He holds a clear Christian stance and seeks to bring that perspective into continuity with the dilemmas of the Health Care scene. It is written with sensitivity and understanding. For example, John Wyatt very helpfully describes the developments in reproductive technology and genetics which posed major problems as being often Lego kit approaches to the human body. He is inspiring when he uses the analogy of God as the artist and sees human beings as flawed masterpieces: "The original masterpiece, created with such love, has become flawed, defaced, contaminated...the task of health professionals is to protect and restore the masterpieces entrusted to our care, in line with the original creator's intention." Such an analogy is I am sure timeless and will be renowned.

His commentary on the Euthanasia debate is informed, relevant and focused. He highlights the concept of 'the life not worth living' as crucial and for those with a sense of history it has uneasy links back to the Holocaust. For all those who are involved within the health care field and have any kind of desire to understand some of the complex moral dilemmas that face professionals today this is essential. Its great strength is that practice and theory are inextricably intertwined and presented through an obviously compassionate person.

Derek Fraser

Men Behaving Boldly

Paul Wallis

Triangle, London, 1998; 118pp; £5.99; ISBN 0 281 05125 9

Taking the biblical Joseph as a role model and set against the popularity of the 'Men Behaving Badly' style of TV sit-com programme, Paul Wallis gives an interesting analysis of how he sees his generation and beyond, i.e. those growing up through the 1970's and 1980's.

One quibble I have is that there is no mention of the influence of Joseph's mother. Part of Joseph's special place in his father's affection must have been because he was the first son of the woman Jacob loved and who died when Joseph was still young - the older brothers were all the sons of an 'arranged' marriage that Jacob had not wanted.

However, there are several useful insights given into Joseph's development through youth and into the difficulties of life in a strange land. These insights are placed against the parallels drawn from situations facing men today.

The exercises in each chapter provide a focus for looking at one's own life. They could be thought and prayed through personally and would be very useful in a group situation, i.e. a men's group. They would also be valuable in groups where some of the men are not yet committed believers. There is excellent material here for the mature man who is a new Christian.

The last chapter on Building for Success is especially useful in evaluating one's use of time - good business techniques applied to a Christian lifestyle.

Lilian Cook

Women in the Hebrew Bible - a Reader

Edited by Alice Bach

Routledge, London 1999; ISBN 0 415 91560 0.

This is a collection of articles considering the status of women within the biblical material in the OT material. This is the first one volume collection of essays exploring women's role in the OT written by major scholars in the field of biblical studies.

The essays examine attitudes towards women and their status in Ancient Near Eastern societies, focusing on the Israelite Society of the Hebrew Bible. The essays range from feminist strategies for understanding the social world at the time of the production of the Hebrew Bible to interpretations of key female literary figures such as Ruth, Esther, Judith, Sarah, Rachel, and Leah. A case history of five essays presents different perspectives and interpretations on one passage (Numbers 5.16.31 - the so-called 'sotah text').

Feminist biblical criticism is seen as an exciting and fascinating development in modern biblical scholarship. Alice Bach in this volume endeavours to gather together some of the highest of biblical scholarship on this subject and seeks to give us a flavour of what is available. It is well presented, but many of the articles have already appeared in other learned journals as is so often the case with a reader. The book takes a very particular and distinctive perspective and is only for the interested few, I suspect!

Derek Fraser

One of Us - A Psychological Interpretation of Jesus

Jack Dominian

DLT (London) 1998; xv + 237pp; £10.95

This book is the fruit of 20 years' reflection and study by a well-known Catholic psychiatrist who has had a lifelong preoccupation with Jesus. He seeks to integrate the insights of his profession with what we read about the Jesus in the Gospels.

The section headings give an overview of what the book is about - Background, Psychological Theories (including thumbnail sketches of the work of five leading exponents), Family Relationships (Jesus with mother, father, and Heavenly Father), Significant People and Events, Love, Kingdom and Personality, Endings and Beginnings.

I came to this book with enthusiasm since I was keen to read something on the psychology of Jesus, and something by Jack Dominian. Here was the chance to 'kill two birds with one stone'. Sadly, I was disappointed, in that I found One Like Us rather tame. I kept wanting to say "Yes, but what about this question or that question?" It seemed to me that the author makes too many assumptions. This is perhaps unfair on him, since he deliberately did not set out to be radical or critical.

It would be a useful book for someone who knew nothing about psychological approaches to personality, or who had not given much thought to Jesus as a real, flesh and blood human being; I would not want my own disappointment to deter others who might find that it opens up new avenues of thinking. But I hope they would be enticed to take the subject further. I certainly intend to.

Pat Bradley

The Art of God and the Religions of Art

David Thistlethwaite

Solway, Paternoster, Carlisle, 1998; 168pp; ISBN 1 900507 78 1

This is a book about "the place of art in the religious dynamic of life", and is a superb introduction to the theme of integration of art and faith. Those, like me, who find art fascinating and inspiring will find much here to stimulate and to challenge.

Part 1 looks at art as creation, Part 2 is concerned with issues of idolatry and truth in art and Part 3 looks at modern art and its Christian possibilities. Well illustrated, both in text and in colour print, this book is in many ways much more fundamental than a Christian critique of art, or a journey around either the author's favourite artists, or those contemporary artists who share a Christian faith. It is a cogent piece of theologically sustained writing and a passionate plea for the re-enchantment of art through hope, which comes ultimately from God.

Having worked in a leading commercial art gallery, and lectured on art, David Thistlethwaite certainly knows his subject, but writes without the (pretentious?) jargon that one sometimes finds in writing about art. Perhaps not a book for the uninitiated, but nevertheless, a readable exploration of the theme for an interested general reader (into which category, after all, most ministers, if not Christians in general, fall).

Paul Goodliff

Animal Gospel. Christian Faith as though Animals Mattered.

Andrew Linzey

Hodder and Stoughton, London 1998; 212pp; £6.99; ISBN 0 340 62150 8

Andrew Linzey is a passionate advocate of the need for Christians to think as Christians about our relationship to the animal kingdom, and not just as members of our culture, which has been pretty indifferent to animal welfare, despite the protestations of a vocal minority. Indeed, so closely have issues of animal rights become identified with certain 'new age' streams, that far from being at the forefront of campaigning for those rights out of a proper respect for God's good creation for which we are stewards, the church has seemed to shy away from the issue out of fear that it might become contaminated with gnostic tendencies.

Linzey argues cogently for a different response to the one so often met. This book is theologically grounded, but takes up issues of current concern, such as vivisection, cloning, fox hunting and ethical farming.

These issues may not be of passionate concern to you, but I expect they are to some members of your congregation, and I almost guarantee they are to the younger members of your church. Ignore this issue at your peril! I commend this book as a thoughtful response to this issue.

Paul Goodliff

Short Notes

One of the latest Alban Institute publications is Congregational Trauma: Caring, Coping And Learning (Maryland 1998; 165pp; ISBN 1 56699 205 2) by Jill Hudson, who offers practical advice to church leaders as to what to do when the church has to deal with cases involving such traumatic events as murder, arson, airline crashes, paedophilia, suicide, and newspaper exposes. The appendices include useful guidelines for dealing with children and young people after sudden death. Thankfully the situations dealt with are beyond the experience of most of us. Nonetheless, this is a useful resource to turn to when things go dramatically wrong.

Signs of Life (SCM, London 1998; 211pp; £14.95; ISBN 0 334 02757 8) is the latest collection of sermons and meditations by Gerd Theissen, Professor of New Testament in the University of Heidelberg. A stimulating read.

HarperCollins have produced a new edition of the NRSV Cross Reference With Apocrypha (London, 1999; £9.99 paperback; ISBN 0 00 220130 5) - a useful tool for all who wish to study the Bible seriously.

In Peacemaking For Churches (SPCK, London 1999; 105pp; £9.99; ISBN 0 281 05177 1), Yvonne Joan Craig seeks to make a contribution to the area of conflict resolution. Not surprisingly, as an experienced counsellor and mediator, the author has much wisdom to offer. "Mediation heals the wounds between people"; "Mediation is the work of the Holy Spirit..also described..as..Counsellor, Comforter, Advocate and Helper." However, helpful as her insights are, I wondered to what degree Yvonne Craig has been involved in church conflicts. Certainly I found it hard to identify with the examples given in her book. Her bibliography is largely secular and shows no awareness of the significant contribution made to this area by the Mennonites.

Lord, Make Us One - But Not All The Same (Hodder & Stoughton, London 1999; 196pp; £6.99; ISBN 0 340 72171 5) by Joel Edwards is the autobiography of the present General Director of the Evangelical Alliance. For people outside the movement, this very readable book could form a helpful introduction to present-day evangelicalism.

Any church considering a major capital project would be well advised to buy a copy of Fundraising For Churches (SPCK, London 1999; 205pp; £12.99; ISBN 0 281 05058 9) by Jane Grieve. Clearly written and rooted in the experience of being the development director for St John's College, Durham, this guide contains a wealth of helpful ideas and practical guidance.

The subtitle of Temporary Shepherds (Alban, Maryland 1998; 205pp; ISBN 1 56699 208 7) edited by Roger S Nicholson is an accurate depiction of a book which is full of wisdom: A Congregational Handbook For Interim Ministry. Interim ministry, so common in the USA, but little known in this country, has much to commend it. For as Nicholson writes in his introduction: "When a change of pastors occurs, a congregation needs time to adjust. This may well take the form of grieving for a beloved friend who has moved on, or it may be a time of resolving bad feelings left over from conflict and misunderstanding". The task of the interim minister is to enable God's people to adjust and journey healthily and happily. Here is a book every bishop, area superintendent, provincial moderator, and district chairman needs to read.

Beauty Of the Beloved: A Henri J M Nouwen Anthology (Darton, Longman & Todd, London 1999; 211pp; £8.95; ISBN 0 232 52301 0) edited by Robert A Jonas provides a good introduction to the writings of this sorely missed Dutch Roman Catholic priest.

IVP have re-issued a new edition of The Story of The Church (Leicester 1999; 271pp; £8.99; ISBN 0 85111 590 X) by A M Renwick , first published in 1958. This basic guide to church history now contains an additional four chapters by A M Harman which tells the story of the church in the 20th century.

Those interested in Celtic Christianity will be pleased with two recent popular offerings from Triangle/SPCK: On Eagles' Wings: The Life And Spirit Of St Chad (London 1999; 122pp; £5.99; ISBN 0 281 05216 6) by David Adam; and Saint Patrick: The Man And His Works (London, 1999; 120pp; £4.99; ISBN 0 281 0 5211 5) by Thomas O'Loughlin.

In The Weekend That Changed The World: The Mystery Of Jerusalem's Empty Tomb (MarshallPickering, London 1999; 220pp; £9.99; ISBN 0 551 03135 2) Peter Walker, a lecturer in theology at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, has written a popular introduction to the resurrection - a book to recommend an unbeliever about to visit Israel!

Available through the Bible Society [Stonehill Green, Westlea, Swindon SN5 7DG] are two books of worship resources for the millennium, published by NewStart/Churches Together In England under the title Worship Resources For The Millennium: Book One (London, 1998; 75pp; £8.00;.ISBN 0 9534554 0 8) has material from Mothering Sunday 1999 to November 1999; Book Two (£12.00) is due out a little later and covers Advent 1999, the Millennium Christmas & New Year Period and all the rest of the year 2000 through to Epiphany 2001. Unfortunately Book One is fairly unimaginative, but will be useful to liturgical churches.

HarperCollins have published CS Lewis: Selected Books (HarperCollins, London 1999; 1382pp; £25.00 hardback; ISBN 0 00 628133 8), a useful collection of all CS Lewis' best-known works of non fiction, viz: The Four Loves, Surprised By Joy, Mere Christianity, The Problem Of Pain, Prayer: Letters To Malcolm, Reflections On The Psalms, The Pilgrim's Regress, The Screwtape Letters, Till We Have Faces, The Great Divorce, The Dark Tower, and Miracles.

Recent booklets from Grove, Cambridge include Postmodern Culture and Youth Discipleship: Commitment or Looking Cool? ( Pastoral Series 76, 1998; 24pp; £2.25; ISBN 1 85174 389 8) in which Graham Cray concludes that the key issues for the pastoral care of post modern young people are "the refusal of a strategy of protection, a commitment to model discipleship and discernment in the world, a Christian community which offers stable relationships, the experience (not just the doctrine) of the assurance of salvation, and a vision of and vocation for God's future kingdom". The Christmas Stories in Faith and Preaching (Biblical Series 9, 1998; 24pp; £2.25; ISBN 1 85174 382 0) by John Proctor and Can Balaam's Ass Speak Today? A Case Study in Reading the Old Testament as Scripture (Biblical Series 10, 1998; 24pp; £2.25; ISBN 1 85174 390 1) by Walter Moberly - interesting as both booklets are, both need to be even more earthed in the realities of normal Sunday preaching - ideally this Biblical series need to include contributions from working ministers; The Daily Office: Exploring Patterns for Daily Prayer and Bible Study (Worship Series 150, 1999; 24pp; £2.25; ISBN 1 85174 392 8) in which Anne Barton draws attention to Daily Prayer recently produced by T.Jamieson & B. Carlin on behalf of the Durham Diocesan Liturgical Committee. In Kidz Klubs: The Alpha Of Children's Evangelism (Evangelism 45; 1999; 24pp; £2.25; ISBN 1 85174 396 0), Philip Clark and Geoff Pearson describe a new enthusiastic approach to reaching children, which includes as one of its key components weekly home visits to every child who comes to church. Don't be put off by the sub-title (which I personally found misleading and unhelpful) - this is a stimulating booklet, which needs to be read and passed around! A Service Of The Word (Worship 151, 1999; 24pp; £2.25; ISBN 1 85174 394 4) by Trevor Lloyd will be of interest only to Anglicans.

Reviewers in this issue:

The Revd Dr George Beasley-Murray is a New Testament scholar with many books and commentaries to his credit. He has taught New Testament at the International Baptist Theological Seminary, both in Ruschlikon and Prague; at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky; and at Spurgeon's College, London.

The Revd Dr Paul Beasley-Murray is Senior Minister, Victoria Road Baptist Church, Chelmsford, and chairs the RBIM Board of Management

Pat Bradley works for a voluntary organisation, is a trainee counsellor and a member of Bookham Baptist Church.

Alun Brookfield works for the Diocese of Bristol as a Parish Development Adviser and is a member of the RBIM Board of Management.

Lilian Cook works for Maranatha Ministries. With her husband, Derek, she has taken a special interest in communicating the Christian faith to men.

Ursula Franklin is a deacon and small group leader at Victoria Road South Baptist Church, Chelmsford.

The Revd Dr Derek Fraser is a member of the RBIM Board of Management and a hospital chaplain in Leeds.

The Revd Paul Goodliff is Senior Minister of Bunyan Baptist Church, Stevenage, and is a Trustee of the Richard Baxter Institute of Ministry.

The Revd Dr Brian Haymes is Principal of Bristol Baptist College

The Revd Julian Reindorp is Team Rector of Richmond, Surrey, and a member of the RBIM Board of Management.

Michael Wood is a lecturer in physics at Liverpool John Moores University, and a Methodist local preacher.

Ministry Today

You are reading Book Reviews by Various, part of Issue 16 of Ministry Today, published in June 1999.

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