Book Reviews

Book Review: Workship

How to use your work to worship God
Kara Martin
Graceworks, 2017

The title Workship encapsulates Kara Martin’s application of Romans 12:1-2 to the whole life of the Christian, not least one’s attitudes and habits in the “secular” workplace. Many others have written on this theme, not least our own Robert Banks. The strength of Martin’s book is that it provides not only biblical principles, but also stories and practical examples that illustrate both the realities of the workplace and possible Christian responses.

Workship is presented in such an accessible way that it would be a helpful workbook for individual and group study. It is also a profitable read for pastors who need to reflect on the challenges facing many to whom they preach.

Bishop Tony Nichols, WA


Book Review: Our Mob, God’s Story

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


Book Review: The Great Good Thing

A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ
Andrew Klavan
Nelson, 2016

Andrew Klavan is a successful American writer of crime fiction, young adult fiction and screen plays. In The Great Good Thing, he leaves fiction for spiritual memoir, recounting his life from his childhood in Great Neck on Long Island, to his baptism at forty-nine in a Manhattan church. I am a bit of a sucker for spiritual memoir, and I am always looking out for a good one. The Great Good Thing did not disappoint – Klavan is a capable storyteller, with a story to tell.

God’s dealing with him unfolds in the telling from his childhood in a Jewish family in a new-money Jewish neighbourhood across youthful ambition, anger, questing and despair, through engagement with literature, the Bible, love and marriage, psychotherapy and five epiphanies to his eventual conversion and baptism.

Book Review: Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Scepticism

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.

Book Review: Hermeneutics as Apprenticeship

How the Bible Shapes Our Interpretive Habits and Practices
David I. Starling,
Baker Academic, 2016

The Reformation claim that Scripture is perspicuous and is its own interpreter has come under serious criticism in the light of the plurality of evangelical interpretations. Starling provides a helpful summary of recent debates. He adds to the traditional images of the hermeneutical circle and spiral by suggesting a third metaphor of the snowball.

But his own preferred image is that of ‘apprenticeship’ by which he commends the inner-biblical practices of the writers of Scripture as a model for the contemporary interpreter. Their stance and method should be normative for us. As their apprentices in the reading of Scripture, we learn how to understand Christ in the light of Scripture, and how to understand Scripture (and all things) in the light of Christ.

Starling then illustrates such apprenticeship by examining the internal hermeneutic revealed in fourteen stimulating case studies from Deuteronomy to Revelation. In the process, he demonstrates that the claim that 'Scripture interprets Scripture' must include an awareness of the intertextual relationships between the biblical books and the interpretive work of the biblical authors themselves.

Bishop Tony Nichols, WA

Book Review: After Saturday Comes Sunday

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