The Magnificent Story: Uncovering a Gospel of Beauty, Goodness, and Truth

James Bryan Smith. IVP, $22 (192p) ISBN 978-0-8308-4636-8
Theologian Smith (The Good and Beautiful God) refreshingly interprets Christian faith by refuting two other versions of Christianity he finds inadequate (he calls them “shrunken stories”): the “good works” gospel taught in liberal churches, he says, fails to inspire; the “shaming gospel” merely scares. In place of these two he offers his view that Christianity is a magnificent story that is beautiful, good, and true; meets a lot of classical theological and scriptural criteria; and answers persistent questions about sin and suffering. His ambitious rewrite is most persuasive when he relates his theology to his own experience of personal tragedy, as when he speaks about his daughter’s birth defects and tragically short life. His thinking is cogent, but his principal metaphor, that of “story,” is at times strained; it’s hard to picture a “shrunken story.” This book will make most sense to those with some background in theology, but patient seekers in quest of a powerful and loving God who stands in solidarity with suffering might also find it valuable. Agent: Kathryn Helmers, Creative Trust. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/24/2017
Release date: 08/01/2017
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-68366-756-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-68366-755-1
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