This book really surprised me. I read it mostly because it was there, someone else gave it to me and I did not have high expectations for it. I supposThis book really surprised me. I read it mostly because it was there, someone else gave it to me and I did not have high expectations for it. I suppose I was expecting a more Amishy, feel-good christian romance novel and instead I got a much more religiously thoughtful book about a young girl making her own way in 1912 Appalachia. While the book wasn't always engaging and the plot sometimes seemed either awkward or unfinished I enjoyed it and learned from it. The various characters and their interactions were the highlight of the book and while romance played its part, it was not even close to being an overbearing plot point....more
The lack of footnotes and general references in this book (about history!) is almost astounding. I realize it’s a small book meant to just introduce aThe lack of footnotes and general references in this book (about history!) is almost astounding. I realize it’s a small book meant to just introduce a reader who may know nothing about the Reformation but that does not mean you shouldn’t cite yourself! In fact it is a large strike against this book. Another strike is the somewhat biased writing instead of stating historical facts in some interesting way. While obviously this topic means a great deal to the author, a clearer disticntion between facts, conjecture and author opinion is needed. The final blow is disagreeing with Mark Noll (on its own not great but he’s allowed to do that) with hardly any good reasons why. That and the author starting to use the words evangelical and evangelicism in the latter half of the book when referring to varios reformers, they are not the same thing! Evangelicals and evangelism didn’t exist until about one hundred years later.
I think my biggest beef with this book is that while the issue of justification was the main theological point of dissention that started the reformation, it is the aspect of authority that was the real issue. Who has the authority to define christianity theologically, culturally and otherwise? Who has the authority to declare who is saved and who is not? Who has the authority period? Catholocism said(ys) on this earth the Pope and Protestantism said(ys) on this earth it is every christian using the word of God. In this way I think that while the theological issue of the Reformation is basically settled, the aspect of authority is not. And I don’t just mean that Catholics have that wrong. I think Protestants (like myself) tend to use the ‘word of God’ as their point of authority but, similar to catholics, never want to discuss the how and the why of it (ie why the bible? How is it the word of God? How do we use and view translations?). In this sense protestants need to recognize that just as the Pope does not have the whole unvarnished truth about everything, so our reading of the bible is also not errorless and without need of correction. For this I think is the greatest lesson of the Reformation; that we be continually reforming and reevaluating the way we view and practice christianity in order to navigate away from abuses of power and the corruption that is sure to follow. ...more
This book hits the mark exactly on contemporary christian thought and biblical interpretation. This is a book I almost didn't know I needed until I stThis book hits the mark exactly on contemporary christian thought and biblical interpretation. This is a book I almost didn't know I needed until I started reading it. McKnight shows great insight as he discusses how christian's today read and use the bible. I also thought his discussion of women and ministry was very good. While this discussion will probably not convince those of another view I don’t think it was meant to and instead serves to point out how we can pick and choose with how we read and apply the bible.
The one thing I didn't like was his writing; I thought it needed a little bit of editing and rewording. He tends to repeat a few of the same thoughts and a few parts seemed a little ‘wandery’. However this is only a small drawback to an otherwise very thought provoking book. ...more