Friday, June 17, 2016

Christian Life and Hope

Here we are at McGrath's final book in this series on The Heart of Christian Faith. From wjkbooks it is called The Christian Life and Hope, a Guide for Study and Devotion. McGrath turns now "to the great theme of Christian hope and the way it transforms and sustains the Christian Life." Readers may ask "what is this hope" and "how does it affect how we think and act each day?" McGrath gives answers to these questions in five chapters. First, he writes about the "sacraments: signs and memories of hope." Then, the meaning of "the resurrection of the dead" followed by a chapter on "Heaven and eternity: the Christian hope." Next he discusses "Between the times: the life of faith," and his conclusion is titled: "further up and further in."

McGrath tells the reader he is using material from his earlier sermons and as he goes over his sermons and prepares each chapter he feels as though he needs to hear each biblical passage himself; he needs to understand more about the great doctrinal themes he is exploring; and he knows his need to listen, as he is preaching to himself as well as to readers and listeners.

In his Introduction, McGrath describes each of the five chapters and how they fit together. First, he talks about "the sacraments, how are they helpful to Christians, what do they believe about them, and what are they to do with them." In chapters 2 and 3, we are reminded again of the creeds and the hope of resurrection for those who do believe. And what is Heaven about and how does it fit with everyday life and worship of our God, who is "loving and trustworthy, and who refuses to let violence, death, and destruction have the final word." Though sad things continue to happen, as recently in Orlando, we look for, hope for, and pray for, "our restoration to the life God always wanted for us."

McGrath suggests that those who believe in God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) might find it helpful to have a mentor, a friend who would answer questions, explain things we might not understand. He suggests the writings of G. K. Chesterton, or C. S. Lewis, or Dorothy Sayers as possible mentors.  He himself does have a mentor and has found him very helpful. When McGrath became a Christian, his mentor helped him to see "that his new faith did not call upon him to abandon his love of science, but to see it in a new way." Actually, to have "a new motivation for loving science and a deepened appreciation for its outcomes." Could be helpful...think about it.......

---Lois Sibley, ireviewreligiousbks