I’ve read 14 books so far this year, and I’m almost done with number 15. I find myself caught between 2 groups of people when it comes to reading – those whose eyes bulge out in shock that I’ve already read this many books, and those who have left me in the dust and already read 30 books! I’ll review several books in my coming posts.
Engaging God’s World, A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living by Cornelius Plantinga Jr. Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2002.
I acquired this book, and it is actually written for a student entering a distinctly Christian university. It is to remind them of a Christian worldview, and that no matter what your educational major happens to be, your faith should make a difference in how you see life. While I did not necessarily learn anything new, it was nonetheless a very worthwhile read! I liked Pantinga’s approach and his way of describing various concepts. My highlighter was put to good use.
The first chapter is entitled “Longing and Hope” which emphasizes that biblical hope is a wide-angle lens that brings this world into focus. Christian hope ultimately centers on Jesus Christ, and to see Christ in context we must look at the 3 acts of this world’s drama: creation, fall, and redemption. From this point, there are individual chapters on creation, fall, and redemption. The final chapter “Vocation in the Kingdom of God” pulls these things together, applying them to everyday life and society.
The author writes from a Reformed Christian perspective, and refers to things like The Belgic Confession, The Heidelberg Catechism, and Canons of Dort. However, the author states in the introduction, “I believe you will find the presentation in the pages ahead to be not only Reformed but catholic and evangelical.” (Note that is catholic with a small c.) He was successful in my opinion.
Even if you are a knowledgeable Christian, years past university, sometimes we benefit from a review and reminder of how our faith impacts all of life. I recommend this book to you.
Here is a sample of content I highlighted as I read the book:
“We will need solid instruction in the Scripture and Christian wisdom in order to recognize truth and in order to disentangle it from error and fraud.” (pg x)
“You will need to gain wisdom from many sources in addition to Scripture. You will need to look for truth wherever it may be found.” (pg xii)
Regarding humanity being made in the image of God: “We image God by imaging Christ…It’s an awesome thing to consider that every time you act kindly toward an irritating person, you are imaging God. Image is a verb as well as a noun. It’s something we do as well as something we have.” (pg 34)
“An idolator corrupts a relationship by introducing a third party into it…So idolatry isn’t just an act of craving fame, for example, instead of God. Idolatry is also the act of putting fame alongside God and trying to serve them both…In Scripture God warns against double-mindedness of this kind.” (pgs 55-56)
“If you are a doubter, the Bible is your book. It’s full of the doubts and laments of believers whose faith emerges only from a crucible of some kind.” (pg 125)
Regarding the future kingdom of God (when Christ returns) and our living in light of it now: “If we believe in the kingdom of God we will pray, and we will hope…We will work and study in the same direction as we hope…Hoping for others is hard, but not the hardest. Praying for others is hard, but not the hardest.The hardest task for people who believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ is in living the sort of life that makes people say, ‘Ah, so that’s how people are going to live when righteousness takes over the world.'” (pg 142)
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