‘Contemporary Creed: Reasonable pathways through the problems of Christian beliefs and ethics’ by John Morris (Revd. Edition 2012)
Wow! A book for ‘beggar to bishop’, and everyone in between!
A huge task to undertake but superbly accomplished as John Morris tackles 60 oft-perceived stumbling blocks to Christian faith, and encourages readers to work through for themselves exactly what can be gleaned from an informed reading of the Bible. Each “problem” is accompanied by succinct verses of his own poetry which contain the nub of the answer, together with a short commentary, liberally sprinkled with biblical references, to enable the reader to have confidence in understanding what their own answers might be.
From asking whether evil can serve any useful function to whether it is possible to be a Christian and yet frequently doubt; or whether Christ’s uniqueness would be undermined if Joseph had been his natural father (and 57 more!), the questions are straightforwardly and honestly tackled in a way that encourages imagination and interaction. And these are the real questions that are posed by Joe Public – those they would like answered, rather than the ‘angels dancing on the head of a pin’ theological depths.
This is not a book of pat answers but an acknowledgement of the fact that we “see through a glass darkly”. For example, in discussing the crucifixion, “the resurrected Jesus showed his wounded hands to Thomas so we assume that divinity, in some incomprehensible way, eternally retains its wounded humanity.”
I think this book would be brilliant for all: from the immediate post-Alpha discussions, when it is so easy for confidence in faith to be undermined from all sides, through to those preparing sermons who could gain much from such clear-sighted stripping bare of how to present the truths of faith to their listeners. A book to return to frequently and, I suspect, in which to continually discover something new.
Reviewed by Heather Armstrong, L.P.A.
Published by O Books, Contemporary Creed is normally priced at £9.99. Mention the Sarum College Website to order a copy at the special price of £9.49 and POST FREE from Sarum College Bookshop until September 30th 2012.