A new series here at CT’s Jesus Creed – recent books that have crossed my desk.
Joel Looper examines the question “What did DB think of the American church?” in his new book Bonhoeffer’s America: A Land without Reformation. This is an important study of a famous essay by Bonhoeffer but it takes some expertise to sort through all he was saying – in its day and in the corpus of Bonhoeffer studies. Looper is a good writer; the book is accessible and a great introduction to much of what’s going on in Bonhoeffer’s life.
A new book by Jonathan D. Redding, called One Nation Under Graham: Apocalyptic Rhetoric and American Exceptionalism. Redding’s book is a slice of American history. The slice is Billy Graham in several respects: his apocalyptic rhetoric, which is as American and Graham as it gets; his American exceptionalism if not patriotic nationalism; his anti-communism; his relation to presidents (Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump); and especially Graham’s advocacy for “under God” being added in 1954 (under Eisenhower) to the Pledge of Allegiance. The decisive sermon was by George Docherty, but he was rooting his sermon and style at the time in Billy Graham’s anti-communism American exceptionalism that could only stave off communism if Americans would be born again, get right with God, and commit to being a God-honoring Christian nation.
When I first saw the five models of Mark Reasoner (Five Models of Scripture) I thought he was taking a cross-sectional approach to how we encounter the Bible and various Bible readings. His five are: Bible as (1) Documents, (2) Stories, (3) Prayers, (4) Laws, and (5) Oracles. John Goldingay’s Models of Scriptureused other terms (witnessing tradition, authoritative canon, inspired word, experienced revelation) prompted Mark to pose other experiences of reading the Bible and his approach considers a wider lens in the church, which means he has a more sensitive ear for Roman Catholic and Orthodox perceptions and experiences of the Bible. Should be required reading in courses that deal with the doctrine of Scripture.