Publishers know that Modern Believing's team of book reviewers, led by the Reviews Editor, Rev. Dr. Michael Brierley, do an outstanding job in providing constructive, critical, fair and discerning reviews.


E. E. Acolatse, Powers, Principalities, and the Spirit: Biblical Realism in Africa and the West. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xii, 243. Pb. £26.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-6405-5.


G. A. Anderson and M. N. A. Bockmuehl, eds., Creation ex Nihilo: Origins, Development, Contemporary Challenges. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2017. Pp. viii, 421. Hb. $45. ISBN 978-0-268-10253-1.


S. Anderson-Faithful, Mary Sumner: Mission, Education and Motherhood: Thinking a Life with Bourdieu. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2018. Pp. xx, 263. Hb. £65. ISBN 978-0-7188-9494-8.


N. S. Ateek, A Palestinian Theology of Liberation: The Bible, Justice, and the Palestine-Israel Conflict. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2017. Pp. xx, 172. Pb. £16.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-260-4.


P. T. Babie and M. F. Trainor, Neoliberalism and the Biblical Voice: Owning and Consuming. New York and Abingdon: Routledge, 2018. Pp. xiv, 148. Hb. £105. ISBN 978-1-138-90299-2.


T. J. Bayne, Philosophy of Religion: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. Pp. xxii, 133. Pb. £7.99. ISBN 978-0-19-875496-1.


R. R. Beck, Jesus and His Enemies: Narrative Conflict in the Four Gospels. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2017. Pp. x, 237. Pb. £29.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-243-7.


J. T. Billings, Remembrance, Communion, and Hope: Rediscovering the Gospel at the Lord’s Table. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xx, 217. Pb. £20.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-6233-4.


D. A. Campbell, Paul: An Apostle’s Journey. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xii, 207. Pb. £17.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7347-7.


P. G. Crowley, The Unmoored God: Believing in a Time of Dislocation. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2017. Pp. xiv, 130. Pb. £21.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-246-8.


F. R. Dallmayr, Spiritual Guides: Pathfinders in the Desert. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2017. Pp. x, 186. Hb. $45. ISBN 978-0-268-10258-6.


S. J. Davis, Monasticism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. Pp. xx, 142. Pb. £7.99. ISBN 978-0-19-871764-5.


N. E. Denysenko, ed., Icons and the Liturgy, East and West: History, Theology, and Culture. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2017. Pp. xii, 206. Hb. $75. ISBN 978-0-268-10138-1.


D. Dickinson, Yet Alive? Methodists in British Fiction since 1890. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016. Pp. xiv, 148. Pb. ISBN 978-1-4438-0294-9.


L. Doggett and A. Arat, eds., Foundations and Futures in the Sociology of Religion. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2018. Pp. xii, 217. Hb. £105. ISBN 978-1-138-09232-7.


E. H. Ecklund and C. P. Scheitle, Religion vs. Science: What Religious People Really Think. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. Pp. xii, 224. Hb. £19.99. ISBN 978-0-19-065062-9.


J. H. Forest, At Play in the Lions’ Den: A Biography and Memoir of Daniel Berrigan. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2017. Pp. xiv, 336. Pb. £23.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-248-2.


M. J. Gehring, The Oxbridge Evangelist: Motivations, Practices, and Legacy of C. S. Lewis. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2017. Pp. xii, 250. Pb. £19.50. ISBN 978-0-7188-9520-4.


E. L. Graham, Apologetics without Apology: Speaking of God in a World Troubled by Religion: The Didsbury Lectures. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2017. Pp. xiv, 172. Pb. ISBN 978-1-4982-8413-4.


P. T. Hamalis and V. A. Karras, eds., Orthodox Christian Perspectives on War. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2017. Pp. xii, 389. Hb. $55. ISBN 978-0-268-10277-7.


P. Harrison, ed., Narratives of Secularization. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2018. Pp. x, 175. Hb. £115. ISBN 978-1-138-56356-8.


T. M. Hinga, African, Christian, Feminist: The Enduring Search for What Matters. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2017. Pp. xxvi, 244. Pb. £37.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-249-9.


T. E. Hosinski, The Image of the Unseen God: Catholicity, Science, and Our Evolving Understanding of God. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2017. Pp. xviii, 206. Pb. £22.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-259-8.


R. L. Hubbard and J. A. Dearman, Introducing the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xxii, 538. Hb. ISBN 978-0-8028-6790-2.


R. Hudson, The Monk’s Record Player: Thomas Merton, Bob Dylan, and the Perilous Summer of 1966. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xiv, 249. Hb. $23.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7520-4.


G. Hunsinger, ed., Karl Barth, the Jews, and Judaism. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. vii, 189. Hb. £54.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7576-1.


R. P. Jones and T. A. Smith, eds., Spirit and Capital in an Age of Inequality. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2018. Pp. xxx, 258. Pb. £29.99. ISBN 978-1-138-22023-2.


E. J. de Kadt, Liberal Religion: Progressive Versions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2018. Pp. x, 143. Hb. £115. ISBN 978-0-815-39458-7.


M. J. Kaemingk, Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xiv, 338. Pb. $28. ISBN 978-0-8028-7458-0.


B. N. Kaye, The Rise and Fall of the English Christendom: Theocracy, Christology, Order and Power. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2018. Pp. x, 324. Hb. £105. ISBN 978-1-138-30578-6.


C. van der Kooi, This Incredibly Benevolent Force: The Holy Spirit in Reformed Theology and Spirituality. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xviii, 157. Hb. £31.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7613-3.


K. J. Kraay, ed., Does God Matter? Essays on the Axiological Consequences of Theism. New York and Abingdon: Routledge, 2018. Pp. viii, 228. Hb. £115. ISBN 978-0-415-79351-3.


M. E. Lee, Revolutionary Saint: The Theological Legacy of Óscar Romero. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2017. Pp. xxvi, 213. Pb. £19.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-226-0.


R. Lennan and N. Pineda-Madrid, eds., The Holy Spirit: Setting the World on Fire. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2017. Pp. xviii, 230. Pb. £24.99. ISBN 978-0-8091-5344-2.


M. W. Levering, Dying and the Virtues. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xii, 348. Hb. £37.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7548-8.


R. F. Luciani, Pope Francis and the Theology of the People, tr. P. E. Berryman. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2017. Pp. xxiv, 199. Pb. £23.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-252-9.


A. E. McGrath, The Landscape of Faith: An Explorer’s Guide to the Christian Creeds. London: SPCK, 2018. Pp. xiv, 256. Pb. £16.99. ISBN 978-0-281-07625-3.


F. R. Mitman, Preaching Adverbially. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xii, 184. Pb. £24.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7558-7.


J. S. Mustol, Dusty Earthlings: Living as Eco-Physical Beings in God’s Eco-Physical World. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2017. Pp. xvi, 280. Pb. ISBN 978-0-7188-9523-5.


D. O’Murchu, Incarnation: A New Evolutionary Threshold. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2017. Pp. viii, 240. Pb. £20.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-235-2.


R. S. Park, Constructing Civility: The Human Good in Christian and Islamic Political Theologies. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2017. Pp. x, 271. Hb. $45. ISBN 978-0-268-10273-9.


L. M. Parker, A Seeker after Truths: The Life and Times of G. A. Studdert Kennedy (‘Woodbine Willie’) 1883–1929. Solihull: Helion and Co., 2018. Pp. 248. Hb. £25. ISBN 978-1-912174-04-1.


A. E. Patrick, On Being Unfinished: Collected Writings, ed. S. Perry. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2017. Pp. xxvi, 309. Pb. £26.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-255-0.


C. S. C. Pemberton, ed., Theology and Civil Society. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2018. Pp. x, 196. Hb. £105. ISBN 978-1-138-63036-9.


P. S. Peterson, ed., The Decline of Established Christianity in the Western World: Interpretations and Responses. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2018. Pp. xvi, 295. Hb. £105. ISBN 978-1-138-30815-2.


M. Renaud and J. L. Daniel, eds., God and the Moral Life. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2018. Pp. xiv, 187. Hb. £105. ISBN 978-1-138-30844-2.


A. D. Richards, The Flag: The Story of Revd David Railton MC and the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. Oxford and Havertown, PA: Casemate Publishers, 2017. Pp. xvi, 288. Hb. £20. ISBN 978-1-61200-447-1.


M. Ross, Silence: A User’s Guide. Volume 2: Application. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2018. Pp. x, 140. Pb. ISBN 978-0-232-53348-4.


T. A. Russell, Women Leaders in the Student Christian Movement 1880–1920. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2017. Pp. xiv, 274. Pb. £23.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-256-7.


B. W. Ryan, ed., Fortress Britain? Ethical Approaches to Immigration Policy for a Post-Brexit Britain. London and Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018. Pp. 176. Pb. £16.99. ISBN 978-1-78592-309-8.


C. D. Shaw, On Mysticism, Ontology, and Modernity: A Theological Engagement with Secularity. Bern: Peter Lang, 2018. Pp. xii, 324. Hb. ISBN 978-3-0343-1988-1.


P. W. Shepherd, Questioning the Incarnation: Formulating a Meaningful Christology. Alresford: Christian Alternative Books, 2018. Pp. viii, 499. Pb. £24.99. ISBN 978-1-78535-633-9.


C. B. Simpson and B. T. Sammon, eds., William Desmond and Contemporary Theology. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2017. Pp. viii, 301. Hb. $50. ISBN 978-0-268-10221-0.


M. L. Skinner, A Companion to the New Testament: Paul and the Pauline Letters. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2018. Pp. x, 305. Pb. ISBN 978-1-4813-0783-3.


M. L. Skinner, A Companion to the New Testament: The General Letters and Revelation. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2018. Pp. x, 149. Pb. ISBN 978-1-4813-0787-1.


A. M. Slater, Radical Orthodoxy in a Pluralistic World: Desire, Beauty, and the Divine. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2018. Pp. vi, 212. Hb. £110. ISBN 978-0-415-78866-3.


M. D. Smith, The Final Days of Jesus: The Thrill of Defeat, the Agony of Victory: A Classical Historian Explores Jesus’s Arrest, Trial, and Execution. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2018. Pp. x, 260. Pb. £20. ISBN 978-0-7188-9510-5.


K. R. Snodgrass, Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus, 2nd edn. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xx, 892. Hb. £48.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7569-3.


K. R. Snodgrass, Who God Says You Are: A Christian Understanding of Identity. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. x, 246. Pb. £19.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-7518-1.


G. A. Studdert Kennedy, The Hardest Part: A Centenary Critical Edition, ed. T. J. J. O’Loughlin and S. A. Bell. London: SCM Press, 2018. Pp. xlvi, 231. Hb. £25. ISBN 978-0-334-05656-0.


W. M. Sumani, Mothers of Faith: Motherhood in the Christian Tradition. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2017. Pp. xviii, 298. Pb. £23.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-257-4.


J. Swinton and B. R. Brock, eds., A Graceful Embrace: Theological Reflections on Adopting Children, Theology in Practice 4. Leiden: Brill, 2018. Pp. xvi, 248. Pb. ISBN 978-90-04-35289-6.


A. F. Walls, Crossing Cultural Frontiers: Studies in the History of World Christianity, ed. M. R. Gornik. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2017. Pp. xii, 284. Pb. £26.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-258-1.


P. Ward, Introducing Practical Theology: Mission, Ministry, and the Life of the Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2017. Pp. iv, 188. Pb. $21.99. ISBN 978-0-8010-9819-2.


A. B. Wilkinson, Reflections for the Unfolding Year. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2017. Pp. x, 171. Pb. £15. ISBN 978-0-7188-9498-6.


C. A. Wright, Creation, God and Humanity: Engaging the Mystery of Suffering within the Sacred Cosmos. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2017. Pp. xiv, 273. Pb. £24.99. ISBN 978-0-8091-5317-6.


Editorial by Steven Shakespeare
from Modern Believing Vol 59:2 - April 2018

A persistent concern of the liberal theological tradition has been the church’s ability to speak to - and listen to - the wider public sphere.

It is a tradition that has come under fire in some quarters, not least the ‘new traditionalism’ and radical orthodoxy of writers like Alasdair Macintyre and John Milbank. They claim that there is no neutral ground on which church and world can meet. The invention of the secular is exactly that: an invention, a false illusion of common ground which really serves the (often violent and controlling) interests of the modern state government and capital. The church must not seek dialogue, but must instead try to out-narrate its secular competitors. There are echoes here of wider critiques of liberalism familiar to us from the recent rise of populist politics.

It is therefore good to see in this issue some articles which address this question, more or less explicitly. Benjamin Wood argues, against Macintyre and Milbank, that modern liberal society provides a stimulus to Christian discipleship, freeing it from its lethargy in an authoritarian social structure. For Wood, whatever its faults, liberal individualism calls us out of our ecclesial canopy to hear the challenge of radical, individual faith.

From Wood’s ‘homeless love’, we arrive at Trevor Gerhardt’s ‘churchless liberalism’. There are distinctions of approach and method at play here, but a clear line of connection. For Gerhardt, decline in church attendance need not be met with a chorus of hand-wringing and despair, especially by liberal Christians. For Gerhardt, there is often a recovery of faith – a kind of resurrection – beyond the abandonment of the ecclesia. Those who move on, alienated by the continuing regression of many mainstream churches, may not merely be moving into the wilderness, but into a deeper spirituality of inclusion.

Ivor Moody’s contribution seems poles apart from this perspective, and yet there are important crossovers. He explores the potentially anomalous role of the parish church cathedral. In an age where many traditional church structures are feeling the pressure, cathedrals have been alive to the possibilities inherent in their very visible and public role. Moody argues that the very tension within the notion of the cathedral as parish church may itself be a kind of grace: an opportunity to witness and address the unresolved ambiguities of our common life. In a more ecclesial mode, dialogue with the contemporary public life is affirmed. And how many of the ‘churchless’ might still find themselves drawn occasionally into the ambit of our cathedrals?

Of course, one of the major issues confronting the church in a changing world is that of sexuality. Defenders of traditional understandings of sexuality and gender often accuse liberals of selling out the gospel to secular values. Such charges betray the ignorance of those who make them. There has been, for instance, a lot of biblical theological work done by those who support same sex unions as bearers of God’s grace and blessing.

In this vein, we welcome T. Derrick Witherington’s application of the liturgical theology of Chauvet to the issue of same sex marriage. Chauvet’s understanding of gradual sacramental reform, open to a real discernment of how human relationships mediate grace, offers a method which is deeply rooted in the incarnational life of the church, yet also progressive and open. Witherington takes the opportunity to push the method gently beyond anything Chauvet might be ready to accept, but remains faithful to the underlying principles of the latter’s work.

In a time of polarisation in church and society, these creative, dialogical voices are needed more than ever. You may not agree with everything our contributors say - isn’t debate part of the lifeblood of liberalism? - but I continue to be encouraged that Modern Believing can act as a platform for such well-reasoned views.


by Benjamin Wood
from Modern Believing Vol 59:2 - April 2018

Abstract:

A persistent theme in the theological work of both Alasdair MacIntyre and John Milbank has been the destructiveness of liberal individualism on Western societies. Framed as atomistic, solipsistic and self-indulgent, liberal modernity has been characterised as opposing the primary moral animus of the Church. To refute these claims, this article offers an affirmative reading not merely of liberal culture but also the democratic marketplace, as places where the newness of the Gospel can be proclaimed and acted upon faithfully.

Keywords:

CAPITALISM, INDIVIDUALISM, LIBERALISM, ALASDAIR MACINTYRE, JOHN MILBANK


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University Press website (subscription required) or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.

by Trevor Gerhardt
from Modern Believing Vol 59:2 - April 2018

Abstract:

Research has and is still being done regarding the correlation between declining religious affiliation and religious identity. Findings indicate that a large number of church-leavers continue to believe without belonging to a specific church. They are ascribed many labels. This article specifically considers the work of Jamieson (2002), Fazzino (2014) and Aisthorpe (2016), with a specific interest in continuing spirituality and the discovery of liberal faith.

The lack of religious affiliation does not preclude or necessitate religious activity. Autobiographically illustrated, those identified as church-leavers – referred to by some as ‘churchless faith’ – do not reject faith nor do they necessarily return later to church attendance as if only in transition, but rather they represent stories of a new resurrected faith identity and, as is the case of the author, a deeper liberated liberalism. Such liberalism resonates with the postmodern perspective which views identity as dynamic, multiple, relativistic, fluid, context specific, decentered, and fragmented. Churchless faith is a new ecclesia for many of the emerging generation.

Keywords:

CHURCHLESS FAITH, LIBERALISM, RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION, RELIGIOUS IDENTITY, SPIRITUALITY


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University Press website (subscription required) or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.

by Ivor Moody
from Modern Believing Vol 59:2 - April 2018

Abstract:

Of the 42 cathedrals in the Church of England, 19 of them are parish church cathedrals, a significant proportion. It is surprising, then, that there does not appear to have been any sustained research or analysis done specifically on parish church cathedrals. Much of the thinking and writing about cathedrals going back to the Heritage and Renewal Report of 1994 only seems to make passing references to parish church cathedrals in the effort to make theological sense of cathedrals and their huge impact on church and society. For many, the title ‘parish church cathedral’ is one that should no longer be used.

 

Keywords:

CATHEDRAL, CONTEXT, CONTRADICTION, EMBEDDEDNESS, HISTORY, PARISH CHURCH, PAROCHIAL SYSTEM, SCALE, TENSION


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University Press website (subscription required) or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.