Brief notes on two books I have read recently:
Collected Writings on Scripture
My Rating: **** 1/2
This collection includes D.A. Carson’s essays and book reviews which touch on a variety of Scripture-related subjects, from the use of redaction criticism to the pitfalls of postmodern hermeneutics. The book is intended for an academic audience, yet Carson’s intricate argumentation is punctuated by his brilliant wit:
- Reviewing a book by J.D.G. Dunn: “There is an important place for superficial books, but it is sad to see a superficial book claiming to present a profound argument.” (126)
- On the “spiritual benefits” of studying Bultmann: “I think it likely that few are spiritually uplifted in any distinctively Christian sense by being assured by Bultmann that angels, miracles, resurrection, and self-incarnating God are all impossible…” (217)
- On a recent book that downplays propositional truth: “This book abounds in assertions about how unimportant assertions are.” (313)
The best part of Carson’s work is his insistence that students of Scripture seek not to master the text, but be mastered by the Bible.
Jesus the Fool:
The Mission of the Unconventional Christ
My Rating: ***
Michael Frost believes that followers of Jesus should seek to be the kind of fool Jesus was – intentionally conspicuous, selfless, and defying the world’s standards of success, prestige and influence. We need a good does of biblical “foolishness” that enhances our ministry.
Frost’s book builds on the work of New Testament scholar Kenneth Bailey and focuses primarily on Jesus’ teachings and parables. Though I don’t agree with everything in this book, I am puzzled by the Brian McLaren endorsement on the back cover, since Jesus the Fool fits well into mainstream evangelical thought. Frost casts a traditional understanding of Jesus in a creative light that reminds us of the social barriers Jesus tore down.