What does Think Christianly (Jonathan Morrow, Zondervan, 2012) promise?
In 300 pages (including notes) Morrow has produced a book in three sections: the first seeks to define culture and explore the biblical responsibility to engage it; the second aims to outline the process of thinking Christianly, understanding all of life and living from God’s perspective; and the third then provides background, specialist interviews, and references to resources dealing with a variety of key issues where the engagement between culture and Christianity is presently most acute.
What I liked.
Morrow is founder of website thinkChristianly.org and the sheer scope of the book provides an engaging introduction to a comprehensive range of subject areas. A number of scholars from various disciplines who would not usually feature in books dealing singularly with subjects such as spiritual growth, apologetics, relationships, world religions, and science can be found here.
There is a serious attempt to embrace and affirm the evangelical emphasis on ‘What has Jesus done’ while developing a legitimate understanding, and application, of the more neglected notion of ‘What would Jesus do?’
Morrow’s voice is clear and thoughtful, he credits a wide range of sources who have contributed to the development of his voice, and the various interviews serve to further expand the subjects engaged. William Craig Lane, Scott Rae and C. John Collins are names I recognised among those providing specialist perspectives.
Each section is dealt with as a summary introduction, arousing interest in the subject at hand, but moving attention forward into the subsequent areas.
What I’m not sure about.
I’m not certain in moving from ‘What Jesus has done’ to ‘What would Jesus do?’, that constant attention is given to the development of how these interactions flow back into a narrative which consistently communicates the centrality of ‘What Jesus has done’. It’s acknowledged, but I didn’t always see the developmental steps. I didn’t note direct engagement with the concept of ‘two kingdom’ theology, but the concept of being a ‘Kingdom Citizen’ is commended.
In a book that covers such a wide range of topics I’m sure that if I looked closely enough I could find something I disagreed with. Consciously rooted in today’s intersection of faith and culture it would seem likely that at least the third section of the book would become dated relatively quickly.
As someone who reads a lot of online material it is easy to imagine moving between all these chapters on a website or in the pages of a monthly magazine. I don’t know if the book will have a long shelf life, or will benefit from future revised editions. The resources referenced seem to be from the broad evangelical stream, names and groupings associated with the resurgent calvinist/reformed movement are not prevalent. This may simply be because it is considered by the author that his subject area is one with which that movement has not yet engaged particularly deeply.
An index might have been helpful.
If you’re looking for a resource which would help develop Christian engagement with broader society at its current stress points Think Christianly is a helpful starting point or supplement.
The review copy of Think Christianly was provided by Zondervan Publishers’ Engaging Church Blog as part of their Think Christianly blog tour.
Provision of the book did not require the publication of a positive review.