The Best Christian Writing

John Wilson, Author, Mark A. Noll, Introduction by
John Wilson, Author, Mark A. Noll, Introduction by Jossey-Bass $17.95 (222p) ISBN 978-0-7879-7475-6
Reviewed on: 09/01/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
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Editor of the evangelical Christian review Books & Culture, Wilson draws from his own pages, no surprise there, but also finds plenty of good stuff elsewhere. His choices tend toward the academic-""when art is liberated from subservience to extraneous purposes"" writes theologian Nicholas Wolterstorff, and ethicist Amy Laura Hall speaks of ""a thoroughly soteriological event"" in an essay that was originally a university lecture. But Wilson also includes reflections on popular culture (a bright essay on the allegory within the Bill Murray comedy Groundhog Day) and poignant personal writing. ""I went slightly crazy"" is all Gideon Strauss (""My Africa Problem ... and Ours"") writes as he describes the aftermath of his experience as an interpreter for the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Calvinism doesn't invite a light touch, yet readers can appreciate Richard Mouw's plain-language teaching of cardinal points of Calvinist theology. Other updatings of Christian tradition are less successful; would Augustine really have wanted sinners to be called ""perps""? The anthology can get earnest at times. Ex-Lutheran Richard John Neuhaus ponders with a convert's strictness ""whether Catholicism will be Catholic."" But Mark Noll's introduction sets the stage by suggesting criteria for good writing. The book is refreshing in its illustrations of how capacious a term ""Christian"" is.
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