Book Review: Visual Theology

posted in: Book Review, Digital Theology | 2

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I’ve shamelessly copied the below graphic, from Tim Challies blog, as it accurately sums up one of the key themes of this review: this is an actually attractive, visual theology book, that could actually be useful for normal people, with coffee tables, rather than ‘extreme Christians’ (I’m not sure who they are, but I bet they wouldn’t put coffee on their personal altars, etc.) 

 

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This book quite literally brings something new to the table.


I am a big reader. I really like reading! I think it is a brilliant spiritual discipline that can help us become more like Jesus, and equip us for mission and mercy in the world today. I’ve blogged about that before, and I also read a lot of books and review quite a few of them. 


But not everyone is a reader, it seems.


For those who can read, but don’t like to, this book could be a brilliant tool.


This is a difficult book to review – in that it covers the whole scope of Christian thoelogy, whilst applying it to Christian living – so I’ll give three reasons why you should have a copy of this book, or possibly a couple – lying around your library. Or even on your coffee table.


1) It is beautifully produced


We live in a visual culture. We are created beings who are creative, with eyes to see, noses to smell, and ears to hear. So often, our discipleship, evangelism and Christian living denies this simple fact. This book is nicely produced, doesn’t look as bad as many Christian books (I can say this, I work for a Christian publisher), and is thoughtfully laid out. This book won’t put people off for being poorly printed, drab, or univiting.


2) It contains beautiful truth

Lots of ‘Christian’ books these days are light on something. Light on the Gospel, or so heavy on something else that Christian content is squeezed out. This book is one drenched in, shaped by, and motivated through the beautiful truth of the Gospel for each and every person. This is a book that points towards the faith once delivered to all the saints – and is fundamentally about Jesus. This is a book that could be a useful building block in a discipleship course, or a confirmation class, or in helping people think things through theologically as they prepare for leadership or church planting. This isn’t, however, ‘The Gospel for Dummies’ – it is a beautiful doorway into a library, an invitation to a lifetime of getting to know Jesus better, and living and speaking for him.


3) It points towards beautiful life


Many books, Christian or not, purport to improve our life. They take ideas, scriptural or from other sources, and try to apply them to life. Other books – and I enjoy reading some of these immensely – are rather less lively. The delve deep into the mechanics of people and places, drawing nuggets of gold out from historical depths, or meditating and musing on the finer points of ancient grammar. These books are important – but not for everyone. This book is clearly informed by both – and other – kinds of books. It is full of beautiful truth – but always in the service of a beautiful life becoming more like Jesus.


This is a great book. It is a good book for new Christians, or for older Christians bored of black and white pages and needing motivation to go deep again. Inspired by the infographics of our age, it points past surface design or meaningless statistics to encourage us again to consider the glories of the Gospel and the goodness of God. It isn’t the last word on everything – but it would be a great first few words for many people. 

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