Book Reviews Posts
December 3, 2012 by Jason Hood
It’s that time of year when pastors and theologians fill out Amazon wish lists and buy presents for people who don’t want to read commentaries or theological treatises. So for an end-of-the-year reflection, I thought I’d mention a few books I’ve enjoyed of late.
Since I only rarely remember when I read a given book, I thought I’d mention books I’ve read recently rather than books read in 2012.
Under the category of “readable” historical non-fiction: I thoroughly enjoyed James Swanson, Manhunt: The 12-day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer and 1776 by David McCullough. Both books are very readable treatments of familiar eras. For longer treatments of familiar events and persons, John Toland offers both a 2 vol history of Japan’s empire before and during WW2 (Rising Sun) and a masterful, massive biography of Adolf Hitler.
I made several forays into less familiar eras and events that have profoundly shaped the modern world. There’s the “wide-angle lens” take in Charles Mann’s 1493. I couldn’t put this book down. It hits history, ecology, and the influence of the “Columbian exchange” on cultural, economic and political developments; it’s an enjoyable, thoughtful voyage through time that explores the roots of the modern world. (Here’s an outtake from his previous book, 1491, published in The Atlantic. This earlier book seems interesting but judging by the excerpt it is far less engaging than 1493.) For more intense study, Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August, does a great job setting the stage for WW1 and the chaotic, senseless, bloody birth of the modern era. For a shorter book on the same topic, Norman Stone’s World War One: A Short History was accessible and compelling.
Fiction has been sparse of late, both in quantity and in character. Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men is fantastic, every bit as dark as advertised; few books match the terrian in which they are set like this dry, sparse, honest novel. It’s possible that I liked this book only because I was born in West Texas and I knew some of the characters. But The Road was fantastic as well, if at times dark beyond belief.
Try Matterhorn for a war novel, or David Benioff’s excellent City of Thieves.
Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl by N. D. Wilson, if only because I wish more people wrote books like this one. Alan Jacobs, The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction is well worth all the positive press.
Theology and biblical studies are mostly left off this list, although if you’re looking for something different, I’ll mention Fikkert and Corbett’s gem, When Helping Hurts, now available in a 2nd edition; Courtney Anderson’s excellent To the Golden Shore: the Life of Adoniram Judson; and Harry Stout’s anti-hero interpretation of George Whitefield, The Divine Dramatist.
(PS: If anyone has book recs for Mrs Hood for Christmas, let me know…but not in comments so we can make it a surprise.)0 Comments
September 4, 2012 by Jason Hood
I regularly hear laity, theologians, and sketpics alike employ a bizarre tool: the denial of biblical or theological points on the basis of the reductive nature of their own imagination. We might call it the “I-can’t-imagine” strategy.
Some people can’t imagine healthy complentarianism; others can’t imagine that egalitarians might be partners in gospel work. Many can’t imagine a God who has the right to judge his creatures. Not a few can’t imagine racial equality or the intensely fallible nature of their favorite political party.
What’s particularly naive about this approach is that it overlooks the depravity of our minds in general, and our imaginations in particular. And as one symptom of the Fall, it feeds gross selectivity in historical and biblical analysis. David Koyzis at First Things highlights a great paragraph from Jamie Smith, who comments on “the New Universalism” in light of a Lauren Winner review of Rob Bell’s Hell book for the NYT Review of Books:
The “I-can’t-imagine” strategy is fundamentally Feuerbachian: it is a hermeneutic of projection which begins from what I can conceive and then projects “upwards,” as it were, to a conception of God. While this “imagining” might have absorbed some biblical themes of love and mercy, this absorption seems selective.
More importantly, the “I-can’t-imagine” argument seems inattentive to how much my imagination is shaped and limited by all kinds of cultural factors and sensibilities–including how I “imagine” the nature of love, etc.
The “I-can’t-imagine” argument makes man the measure of God, or at least seems to let the limits and constraints of “my” imagination trump the authority of Scripture and interpretation. I take it that discipleship means submitting even my imagination to the discipline of Scripture.
As Tom Wright sometimes says to exegetes, you need to expand your imagination a little. Or to riff on Richard Hays: your imagination needs to be converted, baptized with Scripture.
Read all of Smith’s post–it’s a Winner. (So sorry for that pun.)4 Comments
September 1, 2012 by Jason Hood
Guest post by SAET fellow Jim Samra
This is the second post motivated by a review of my book God Told Me. My goal in these two posts is to address issues relevant to the Society for the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology in relation to the issue of God speaking to us today to lead and guide us in a variety of ways. The first post addressed the issue of the Scriptures versus theological systems and the ability of the pastor/shepherd to provide a unique perspective on the theology of God’s guidance.
In this post I want to address the issue of preaching, specifically how God guides through preaching as well as in the pastor’s preparation for preaching.
The reviewer claims: “In evangelicalism there seem to be at least two predominant schools of thought. The first believes God has spoken and continues to speak through the revelation of Scripture alone. The second believes God speaks through the Bible as well as through people, actions, dreams, visions, promptings, ideas, events, laying out fleeces, casting lots, and so on.” The glaring omission from both these lists is preaching. As a pastor, one of the major places that I have seen God guide and direct is with regard to preaching. The reason preaching is such an intriguing category to think about God’s guidance is that it is closely related to Scripture, but is not identical to it.
Let’s begin with God’s guidance when it comes to preparation for preaching. I would say (as would Charles Spurgeon and many preachers) that God provides guidance and direction as to what passages of Scripture to preach. Do those who hold to a “Scripture-only” model of God’s guidance believe that the Holy Spirit ever guides pastors as to what to preach? Would they feel that if the elders of the church suggested that the pastor preach on Romans that this could be God guiding that pastor to preach on Romans? I just finished reading through a couple of chapters in Mark Dever and Greg Gilbert’s book Preach: Theology Meets Practice. I have no idea whether either of these pastors would endorse the way that I approach the subject of God’s guidance in God Told Me. But I did read this statement in their book: “The Holy Spirit moves and directs months in advance when we are planning a preaching schedule” (page 76). Maybe they mean that when they are reading Scripture God tells them how to arrange their preaching calendar. More likely they mean that there are a variety of ways God guides, including God-given wisdom, circumstances, godly advice, prayer, etc. and that the Holy Spirit uses these means to guide them in the preparation of their preaching schedules.
And what about the preparation of a particular sermon? Again from Preach: Theology Meets Practice, Mark Dever states with regard to coming up with applications for sermons: “I spend a good deal of thinking, praying, and filling in the [application] grid. Not every point of application I consider will make it into the sermon, but many of them do.” (page 93) I may be wrong, but it seems to me the point of praying is to ask the Spirit to guide the preacher to the right applications to use in the sermon. This may come during the time of prayer, during the thinking and writing, or during the time of review with congregants that he mentions later on. Any of these would be examples of God speaking in ways other than just through the Scriptures. And I would hope that Mark would say that ultimately it was the Holy Spirit who guided him and not just his own preaching-smarts.
I would even argue that during the delivery of the sermon that Holy Spirit leads and guides often in conscious ways, perhaps bringing into focus a particular congregant and prompting the preacher to change his application to fit that person’s needs.
All of these points relate to God guiding in the planning, preparation and delivery of the sermon. There is also the other side: God speaking to those who are listening to the sermon. Most pastors believe that God speaks during the preaching of his Word. But does he provide guidance? If during a sermon on marriage a listener feels compelled to propose to his girlfriend, would we consider the possibility that God was speaking words of guidance to that person? In God Told Me, I tell a number of stories of people who received guidance from God during a sermon: one to adopt a child, another to spend all night praying, and a third to move home to be with his dying father. I believe that God speaks during the preaching of his Word. Would we not expect that he would provide guidance at such times?
Perhaps those who hold the so-called “Scripture-only” view would argue that since it is Scripture that is being preached, God is speaking during this time. But not everything in a sermon is Scripture. And if the point is that it is connected to Scripture, then does this mean that conversations with others, visions, ideas or promptings in which Scripture is referenced count too?
More likely what is happening is that in the preaching of the Word, a pastor is exercising his spiritual gifts and “showing the Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:7). Through this manifestation of the Spirit, God is speaking not just through his Word but also through the words of the preacher. And if God is speaking, can we not expect that he can provide guidance as well?1 Comment
August 31, 2012 by Jason Hood
Guest Post by SAET fellow Jim Samra
I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Society for the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology, a group committed to the idea that pastors have a unique contribution to make to Christian theology.
Recently a review of my book God Told Me was published on the Gospel Coalition website by a student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Part of the reason for writing God Told Me was to present a case from Scripture for God providing guidance to his children in all aspects of life. The review of the book provides an opportunity to demonstrate how I think theology that is done in the church can provide a different and important perspective.
One of the joys of being a seminary student is discovering that theological systems can help bring structure and make sense of the often bewildering array of truths and ideas one is confronted with in God’s Word and Christianity. However, one of the joys of becoming a pastor is the discovery that the God who speaks through His Word is too big for these pre-packaged theological systems. It is the same joy a child has when learning to ride his bike without training wheels. It is also the reason why John Calvin sounds rather un-Calvinistic at times in his exegetical works, and Luther sounds un-Lutheran at times in his sermons.
So it is with the idea of God’s guiding voice. The question is not whether one’s theology leaves room for God to speak outside the Scriptures or not. The question is whether God reveals himself in his Word (and in history) to be a God who guides his children through a variety of means. I understand why God leading and guiding might provide problems for some theological systems, but I am not aware of any Scriptures where God says that he will stop providing guidance for his children, or that he will only provide such guidance through the Scriptures alone.
The review’s major argument is that since we cannot be certain that we are hearing God’s voice, God cannot (or does not) guide us today. Theologically, I can see how someone arrives at that position. But Jesus says in John 10:3-5 that his sheep do recognize his voice. Jesus takes upon himself the burden of communicating in a way that is recognizable, regardless of whether our theology says he can or not. The answer to the question of how can we have certainty that it is God who is guiding us is given quite clearly in Hebrews 11. It is by faith. The chapter begins with the statement that “faith is the being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see.” The chapter goes on to list examples of people who were led by God apart from the Scriptures and gives the indication that they knew it was God speaking them. The answer to the question, “How do we know for certain it is God,” is the same answer to the question, “How did Abraham know for certain it was God speaking?” By faith. That’s how anyone knows anything in the Christian life. The implication that it can only be God speaking if someone explains exactly how it is that they know for sure it was God speaking in a way that others can objectively verify appears theologically sound, but is Scripturally suspect. After all, Matthew 4:1 says, “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” How did Jesus know that it is was the Spirit leading him? The Scriptures don’t say. Does this mean that Jesus wasn’t led by the Spirit? No. Jesus recognized by faith that it was the Spirit leading him. He says that by faith we will recognize when it is his voice leading us.
Here is where the theology that comes out of the church has a unique contribution to make. The overriding metaphor of John 10 (and of God’s guidance in general) is that of shepherd. The pastor who is doing his theology in and for the church is functioning in the role of shepherd. This gives the pastor a unique perspective on what Jesus is talking about in John 10. As a pastor, I realize that sheep entrusted to my care need guidance and direction. They need help thinking through what college to attend, what to do about wayward children, and how to approach a friend with the gospel. I am regularly trying to provide guidance for them in a variety of ways. Why would I ever think that God wouldn’t do the same?
Moreover, as a pastor, it would be rather arrogant to think that the advice I am giving to my people in church comes totally and completely from me. Is it not possible that when I give advice to people in my congregation that God can speak through me? Of course not everything that I say comes from the Lord. But doesn’t the Good Shepherd sometimes speak through the shepherds he has entrusted to lead his people?
This leads to the second issue applicable to SAET regarding God speaking and guiding today: preaching. The next post will address this.1 Comment
August 8, 2012 by Jason Hood
Friend of SAET Jonathan Pennington has a new textbook coming out on the gospels: Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction, coming in October 2012 from Baker Academic. I recently asked him a few questions about this work and his approach to the gospels. (For more on the book, including killer video introductions, see the book’s website.)
(1) You’ve been teaching gospels for how long now? What are some of the key elements you want students to take into the pastorate?
I’ve been teaching from the Gospels at several levels for about ten years now – everything from church seminars to Greek Exegesis of Matthew, from Sunday preaching to NT Survey courses.
I want my students and all readers of this book to grow in their love for the theological and literary depth and beauty of the Gospels – and of course, for the Subject of their narrative. I want students to learn how to read narrative texts well and how to apply the narrative portions of Holy Scripture theologically and personally. Most importantly, I want to see the Church rediscover the central role that the Gospels can and should play in all our teaching and preaching.
(2) I still have your ground-breaking dissertation, Heaven and Earth in the Gospel of Matthew (click the title for an impressive slate of reviews) on my desk for fast reference. What’s the connection between that work and this present work? Obviously one is a dissertation, the other a textbook; but are there links would someone see and identify as the seedbed of the “Pennington” school of thought?
Very funny and rather scary idea that there would ever be a “Pennington school of thought”! But it is a good question about what connections there are between my earlier work on Matthew and Reading the Gospels Wisely. The biggest difference is that RGW is written as a rather far-reaching, supplement textbook on how to read the Gospels overall.
There is a similarity in approach in that I still primarily read the Gospels through a literary and theological lens; this is evident in both books. But while Heaven and Earth in the Gospel of Matthew makes a sustained argument for the existence of a particular literary theme in Matthew, RGW covers a range of hermeneutical, historical, and theological issues concerning all the Gospels. In many ways it is really an ecclesial hermeneutics book for the Gospels.
(3) Your promotional video has a bit of a provocative edge to it, pushing back against “small” gospel. How do you situate your book with respect to the wider conversation in evangelicalism on the definition of the gospel? How does your experience as a professor of the gospels shape your definition of the gospel?
Yes, I suppose there is a bit of an edge in that video, but I hope a nice, smooth edge, not a jagged one! Though the scope of RGW is much wider than the issue of how to define the “gospel,” I do address this issue in the first couple of chapters and I do care about this important current discussion.
My study throughout the years has convinced me that the Gospels – intertextually rehashing Isaiah in particular – help us see that the “euangelion” (good news) of the Bible is the message of God returning to restore his reign. It is, to use Matthew’s unique phrase, “the gospel of the kingdom” (Mt 4:23; 9:35; 24:14). The shorthand version is that the gospel message of Scripture is the story of God’s reign coming from heaven to earth, from creation to new creation, centered in Jesus the Christ. There is no place in Holy Scripture where this is more clearly or fully developed than in the fourfold Gospel book.
Stay tuned for part two of the interview, coming tomorrow.1 Comment
April 19, 2012 by Jason Hood
I mentioned that I had one criticism of Anderson’s excellent book, To the Golden Shore, which I read this spring to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Adoniram Judson and friends leaving my country as our first overseas missionaries.
Anderson, being Baptist, naturally loves to focus on Judson’s Baptist belief. Judson and his friends were raised, trained, and sent to the mission field as Congregationalists who baptized infants. But he became convinced on the voyage over that this view was wrong. The Judsons were immersed a short time after landing in India, and they became Baptist missionaries.
Baptism is not unimportant. But the degree of interest in baptism stands in stark contrast to the absence of other theological emphases in Carey’s life. We hear almost nothing at all about their Calvinist leanings or of Calvinism, period, apart from an austere description (surely accurate!) of Judson’s father. But the Judson’s own words shed a great deal of light on the “missional” motivation provided by their Calvinism.
- The postmillennial confidence in the victory of Jesus led them to go to an unreached people group in hope that God would powerfully move for his glory
- The belief in God’s power and his ability to answer prayer and make human effort fruitful fed their prayer and their striving. They made courageous, heart-rending decisions about children, entrusting them to God’s care. They accepted circumstances, including defeat and death, as God’s will.
- They looked at challenging—even horrific—circumstances and searched for God’s love and purpose. When these couldn’t be perceived, they kept believing that God was still loving, and his purposes still certain.
- They learned to see the sin in one’s craving for greatness, and God’s sovereign hand in bringing us to humility through trials.
Granted these themes can be found outside Calvinism, one misses quite a bit of Judson’s theological motivation through Anderson’s reluctance to make the point. Indirectly, this feeds the false “anti-mission” charge often levied against Calvinism.0 Comments
April 11, 2012 by Jason Hood
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the first overseas missionaries from the United States. To mark the occasion I’m reading Courtney Anderson’s To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson, a missionary classic that tells the story of the men and women who set sail for Asia in 1812. It’s a remarkable story, Anderson writes very well and doesn’t really veer into hagiography, and I’ve read few books with as much insight on missionary thought and practice.
It would be impossible to do the work or Judson’s life justice in a post (although a good start is John Piper’s telling of the story). But here are a few notes:
The Judsons’ rigor and passion are impressive; they are brilliant, hard-working, and more than a little headstrong. They go to the mission field despite massive opposition from friends and families. Their task requires an abundance of both stubbornness and patience.
As for preparation:
A liberal arts education turns out to be a decent preparation for radical missionary service. The usefulness of smoking pipes and cigars: they cover up the stench of prison. There’s the necessity of slaughtering self-conceit (being a missionary doesn’t exempt one from this most basic of Christian tasks). And there’s the need for a sense of humor, in particular Judson’s “keen sense of the ridiculous” served him and others well (292). At times Judson comes across as an early 19th century hipster who could have written for The Simpson’s.
Finally I note this: we need to place brilliant theological minds on the frontier mission field, and not just in teaching posts at seminaries and colleges and wealthy American congregations (the professions many preferred for Judson).
I’ll follow up soon with a minor complaint about Anderson’s book, but I highly recommend it.2 Comments
April 9, 2012 by Jason Hood
Mrs. Hood has read all the cool stuff—Twilight series, Harry Potter, etc., and urged me to read The Hunger Games. The three books were my first reads on a Kindle. Page-turning thrillers make good sense on an e-reader, but I’m not sold yet on reading other books in this way.
If you are on the fence about reading them, The Hunger Games might be worth your attention. (1) Your children and their friends will be likely to read this series. (2) It reads well and maintains its pace. (3) A number of ethical challenges make for interesting case studies worth discussion, particularly since the radical, Christian option (being harmed rather than harming) is not offered in the book (is Rue an exception?).
But beyond these prosaic reasons, Collins gives a good portrayal of the life and emotions of a teenager. Apart from the usual “which boy” problems, there’s a deeper than anticipated look at teenage self-obsession. Self-focus is tempered by a sense of vocation, and further filtered by a growing awareness of the way one’s life is inextricably connected to others, so that Katniss can’t simply live for herself and her dreams without thinking about others. Katniss weaves through misunderstandings and emotional swings while balancing on a high-wire of self-confidence mixed with self-doubt.
More importantly, she develops an awareness of the world and its warts and weaknesses, particularly the ability of a corrupt world to employ us as pawns for wicked purposes, and her own capacity for evil and wrongdoing.
Even in rebellion against tyranny we may, in fact, turn out to be tyrants.
Less thoughtful than (say) Chronicles of Narnia, more so than Ender’s Game, to paraphrase the book’s conclusion: “there are much worse books to read.”0 Comments
January 27, 2012 by Gerald Hiestand
One of the more vexing issues facing pastors today is the question of premarital sexual ethics. Simply put, we pastors are not quite certain how to counsel singles and teens regarding appropriate sexual boundaries. Of course, we clearly teach that sexual intercourse should be reserved for marriage. But beyond this, there is no consensus among evangelical clergy about where the boundaries should be drawn. Instead we tend to push the burden of this question back onto singles. One pastor typifies the counsel regularly given by evangelical clergy:
“You may want me to tell you, in much more detail, exactly what’s right for you when it comes to secular boundaries [in dating relationships]. But in the end, you have to stand before God. That’s why you must set your own boundaries according to His direction for your life. . . . I want you to build your own list of sexual standards” ( Clark, I Gave Dating a Chance, 108-09).
But do we really mean to say that Christian singles should “build their own list of sexual standards?” Certainly this can’t be right. Is oral sex permissible? Fondling? Mutual masturbation? Passionate kissing? No one seems to really know. Certainly Christian singles don’t know. And the confusion here is no small matter. There is every reason to suspect that our lack of clear direction regarding premarital boundaries is putting singles in a precarious position. The September/October 2011 edition of Relevant Magazine includes a remarkable update regarding evangelical sexual ethics. In the article, “(Almost) Everyone’s Doing It” author Tyler Charles, drawing upon data gathered by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy, informs us that forty-two percent of evangelicals between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine are currently in a sexual relationship, twenty-two percent have had sex in the past year, and an additional ten percent have had sex at least once. Assuming the accuracy of Charles’ data, this means only twenty-percent of young evangelicals have remained abstinent.
Even if the survey’s data were wrong by half (see DeYoung’s comments), the numbers would still be concerning. And as a pastor, I am indeed concerned. In my own experience, I see a significant amount of confusion and compromise among Christian teens and singles, particularly as it relates to premarital sexual ethics. Sometimes Christians flounder because the Church fails to address crucial issues; sometimes they flounder because the leaders of the church address crucial issues wrongly. Both the former and the latter, I believe, are at work here. On the one hand, evangelical scholars and theologians have devoted a paucity of attention (if any) to the issue of premarital sexual ethics; we’ve left it to popular-level books to plumb the Scriptures teaching on this matter. And when pastors do speak explicitly to this issue, we send a confusing and mixed message. We’ve told Christian singles that it’s fine (or at least might be fine, or at least we can’t say it’s not fine) to prepare the meal, set the table, put the food in their mouth, and chew—just as long as they don’t swallow. We’ve left the door open to sexual foreplay, while insisting that singles refrain from consummating that foreplay. In essence, we’re telling Christians singles that it is (or might be) permissible to start having sex, just as long as they don’t finish. It is little wonder then, that many Christian singles—while largely agreeing that intercourse should be reserved for marriage —find themselves unable to live out their own ideal.
Does the Bible really have nothing definitive to say about premarital sexual ethics, beyond a narrow prohibition against sexual intercourse? Can we construct a theology of sexual relations that informs the question of premarital sexual boundaries? What implications would a more objective view of premarital sexual ethics have for contemporary dating relationships?
Answering the above questions is the aim of my new book, written along with my friend Jay Thomas, Sex, Dating, and Relationships: A Fresh Approach (Crossway, 2012). The book comes out at the end of February and is written at a popular level, targeting Christian singles between the ages of 18-35. (I thought about doing a provocative book trailer, but decided against it. I can see it now… Did Ghandi believe in dating? Really?). Anyway, while the book won’t be as controversial as Bell’s book on Hell, it will, I’m certain, generate some discussion among those who read it. Jay and I worked hard to offer a biblical, objective premarital sexual ethic that is consistent with a larger theological understanding of sexuality. The conclusion we reach is pretty counter-cultural even within our evangelical sub-culture. By way of teaser, let me give the punchline: making out between unmarried men and women is a sin, and represents the first stages of sexual immorality.
I’ll be using the next few posts to lay out the basic argument of the book, in anticipation of the book’s release. Stay tuned.2 Comments
December 6, 2011 by Gerald Hiestand
Reading historical non-fiction (especially war stories) serves as a sort of intellectual pallet cleanser for me when I’ve had my head too long in Barth or Augustine. It also comes in handy when I fly, since every time I get on the plane it tends to be a near-death experience for me. Trying to concentrate on a difficult passage of Barth while the plane is bumping through turbulence is a bit much. But a good war story helps to take my mind off the fact that I’m about to plummet to the earth in a ball of fire.
Anyway, I just did a quick trip to Toronto, which involved flying on one of those little 40 person jets. So I picked up Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken. It’s probably the most riveting historical account I’ve read in a long, long time. (It’s a close call between Unbroken and Black Hawk Down). Hillenbrand tells the true story of Louis Zamperini, a WWII airman who crashed into the pacific, was attacked repeatedly by sharks, floated 2000 miles on a raft, was captured by the Japanese, spent two years in the hell that was the Japanese concentration camps, and was finally liberated just weeks before Japan executed a “kill all” order for POWs.
Zamperini survived his ordeal only to return home haunted by devastating nightmares and flashbacks. His post-war life was rocked by an explosive temper, consuming hatred toward his former captors, and a black descent into alcoholism. He was on the brink of total personal ruin when he finally surrendered to God. The story is simply too incredible to do justice to in a blog post. But its a story that will cause you to think deeply about the depths of man’s depravity, the desperate will to live, and the persistent, tenderness of God’s love. The book is by no means a “Christian” book. It simply tells Zamperini’s story. And Zamperini’s story can’t be told without speaking of the transforming love of Christ. If you like this genre (and even if you don’t), read this book.1 Comment