EFAC Australia

Book Reviews

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists Share Their Faith
Louise Sherman and Christobel Mattingly (Eds)
Bible Society Australia, 2017

Congratulations to the Bible Society for this stunning collection of indigenous paintings from over thirty locations across the Nation. Aboriginal and Torres Strait artists were invited to submit paintings depicting a Bible story, with a short statement describing its special significance to them. Over 300 paintings were submitted, and as a result, more than 65 artists share their vision of Christ.

Safina Stewart’s beautiful “Seven Days Of Creation” opens the Old Testament section. Those based on the New Testament are introduced by Margy Adams unique figurative style and depicts key events in Christ’s life from his nativity to his ascension. Traditional styles (e.g. Kunwinjku, Walpiri, Pitjantjatjara) are mingled with more contemporary expressions, but the linguistic heritage of every contributor is supplied, as well as their personal reflections.

This inspiring collection illustrates what the recent Census indicated – that Christian faith is more alive in the indigenous communities than in the dominant white society.

Bishop Tony Nichols, WA

Tim Keller
Hodder, 2015

The best synopsis of Preaching, actually comes from Timothy Keller himself, tucked away in the book’s appendix:

‘This volume is far from a complete textbook on preaching. You will have noticed I’ve spent most of my time on why a certain kind of preaching is needed and what that preaching looks like in principle and in example but relatively little time on how to prepare a good sermon. A manifesto, not a manual, as I told myself many times in the writing of this book’ (p. 213)

That is exactly right. In Preaching, Keller is articulating his preaching philosophy rather than giving a step-by-step guide. The result is a highly stimulating book that reflects the distinctive strengths and weaknesses of Keller’s own preaching.

The book is divided into three sections. Part one: Serving the word; Part two: Reaching the people; and Part three: In demonstration of the spirit and power.

Jacques Ellul. Trans. Geoffery W. Bromiley
Wipf & Stock, 2011

Jacques Ellul’s book is driven by the question of, 'How has it come about that Christianity and the Church has given birth to a society, a civilization, a culture, that are completely opposite to what we read in the Bible?' Ellul’s answer to his question is that Christian practice has constantly been a subversion of the truth in Christ. Then Ellul sets out his understanding of how this came about.

For Ellul the first Christians were attacked by the political power of the Roman Empire as dangerous. They were rejecting and questioning all power, desiring a transparency in human dealings that manifests itself in bonds of family and social relationships of a completely new kind. Then the change as Christians move to obey the ruling powers and actively support those powers against all that threatens them in the political, economic and social areas.

Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East
Elizabeth Kendal,
Wipf and Stock, 2016

The post-Christian West is in decline. Revived Islam is on the rise. The Middle East has become ground zero in a battle for civilisation. Indigenous Christians- Arabs, Armenian, Assyrian and Copts who lived in this cradle of civilization long before the Islamic conquests, are targeted by jihadists for subjugation, exploitation and liquidation. Millions have been driven out of their homeland or slaughtered, their fate ignored by the West’s “progressive” elites who are increasingly hostile to Christianity and delusional about Islam.

Elizabeth Kendall not only exposes the extent of this genocide in the ancient Christian heartland, but also provides a cogent and readable explanation of the context, history and ideologies that underlie the crisis. Of particular interest for this reader, is her lengthy citation of President Putin’s speech of September 28 2015, which gives a lucid account of the state of the Middle East and a moral justification for Russia’s stance, in contrast with the folly of US policies and the duplicitous role of Turkey (pages 220-226).
Bishop Tony Nichols, WA

Essays in Honour of Peter and Merrill Corney
Denise Cooper-Clarke and Stephen Hale (Eds)
Acorn Press, 2017.

Peter and Merrill Corney have had remarkable ministries from the late 1960’s until today. There are very few ministers who one could genuinely say shaped the nature of church life as we know it. I don’t think it is going too far to say that that is true of Peter and Merrill!

The 1960’s and 1970’s were times of social ferment and significant change. Church life was largely denominational and uniform in that era and many churches saw the collapse of their once very large Sunday Schools and Youth Groups. Peter and Merrill were great readers of culture and social trends. They somehow sensed what was going on and forged new models of doing church that pioneered a way to respond to those changes. Those responses were innovative in their era and then became the norm in many, many churches in the years that followed. Some of those churches probably have no idea where the ideas originated from but that doesn’t really matter.