Working for a Christian publisher – not least a confessional one – means that I am in a privileged position when it comes to reading books. It also means that I have to be quite careful not to read and review books that IVP publishes and say they are all amazing – hopefully, we wouldn’t publish a dud, but at the same time I don’t have to like everything!
Every now and again, though, we publish something that I think hits a sweet spot.
This year, this strange, strange year, has been marked by COVID-19, political discord, and the Black Lives Matter movement/conversation/culture shift. On the first, I thought perhaps that Healthy Faith and the Coronavirus Crisis would be my IVP book of the year (not least because, in editing it, I fulfilled a long-term dream [2008 Tom was not particularly cool]). I was wrong, and I’ve never been more glad.
‘Here Are Your Gods!’ is a new book by Chris Wright, perhaps best known for his magesterial book The Mission of God. This book takes an oft-overlooked chunk of that book, and adds to it in a quest to hold the mirror of Scripture up to the world we live in, particularly when it comes to in whom and what we place our trust.
The book is readable, punchy, and shot through with Scripture. Literally. You cannot be a Bible-believing Christian and read this book and then claim Wright is being unbiblical. Part One covers the theology – what does the Bible say about God and ‘gods’? What is idolatry? Why are people so prone to things? Part Two pivots to apply these ideas to the political situation, whilst Part Three invites us to consider that essential question ‘how then should we live?’. The subtitle here says it all – this is a book about ‘Faithful discipleship in idolatrous times‘.
You don’t have to agree with Wright politically (I don’t!) to see that he’s on to something. I think those who wouldn’t call themselves Christians would also find this book helpful to understand the way that ‘evangelical’ has been hijacked in the USA, and why intelligent people across political divides seem to be in religious thrall to people and policies and ideas and platforms. I think this is a prophetic, challenging, timely and deeply provocative book. I hope it is widely read.