Book Briefs -- By: John H. Armstrong
RAR 11:2 (Spring 2002) p. 173
A Scientific Theology: Nature (Volume One), Alister E. McGrath. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans (2002). 325 pages, cloth, $40.00
This is the groundbreaking first volume in a projected three-volume systematic theology by the esteemed Oxford evangelical theologian Alister McGrath. (The two remaining volumes are Reality and Theory.) What is the relationship between Christian theology and the natural sciences? The attempt to answer this question has produced as much intense debate among Christian theologians as perhaps any theological question over the past two hundred years. McGrath enters the fray well-armed, having been trained in both the natural sciences and theology. As a result of this academic background McGrath is well prepared to engage in both disciplines with keen insight and deep reflection.
McGrath admits his debt to Thomas Torrance, who follows Karl Barth to a greater or lesser degree, and contends that there can be a defensible natural theology within the scope and framework of a revealed knowledge of God. Such natural theology does not act independently of biblical revelation by the Spirit but within it. In short, nature must be read as a work of creation and creation is a biblical truth revealed to us by the Spirit. If we keep this perspective we can engage in serious scientific theology which does not deny the effects of sin or the need for revelation which is in Christ alone.
RAR 11:2 (Spring 2002) p. 174
A Visit To Vanity Fair: Moral Essays On The Present Age, Alan Jacobs. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press (2001). 173, cloth, $18.99
What role does the “moral essay” play in the lives of evangelicals? At one time it was a major part of Christian formation. Now it appears to have gone the way of the dinosaur. Alan Jacobs, professor of English at Wheaton College, has come to the rescue. Here he shows how to read the Bible (or Harry Potter) with our children, how to watch television documentaries, or how to pay attention to those we love. The loss of moral imagination and the kind of writing that employs it is a sad reality of modern Christian life. Jacobs offers fresh recovery for those with the will to recover.
The Old Religion In A New World, Mark A. Noll. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans (2002). 340 pages, paper, $24.00
This survey of Christianity in North America is simply one of the best conceived and clearly written volumes of its kind. Noll goes beyond the usual chronological account of events that make up most histories and thus leads the reader on a journey into the European past of American Christianity and ends with the present. The next to ...
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