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The world’s most powerful ideas

…Well, I’d like to think!   It’s a bit keen for a holiday reading list, but here are some of the books I’ve picked up recently.

Reimagining Church: Pursuing the Dream of Organic Christianity (Frank Viola)

Total Church: A Radical Reshaping Around Gospel and Community (Tim Chester and Steve Timmis)

The local church is God’s workshop of life.  There are many visions for its future.  Viola’s is about removing leadership hierarchies and growing house churches.  Total Church is about maximising truth and community together.

Surprised by Hope (NT Wright)

Forget ‘being saved’ and ‘going to heaven’.  God’s plan for the Universe is grander — and more tangible — than we yet know.

Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision (NT Wright)

They say Tom Wright has out-reformed the neo-Reformers.  I haven’t been much up to speed with the Piper-Wright discussion.  Luke wonders if both are right but are speaking at different levels.  Wright’s latest book promises to bring further clarity.

Rethinking Human Nature: A Christian Materialist Alternative to the Soul (Kevin Corcoran)

In 2006, I started describing myself as a Christian materialist.  We do not have souls; we are souls; we are our bodies.  It’s time to put Platonism and Cartesian dualism to death.  I wish I’d got this skinny book when it came out that year.

A Case for Amillenialism: Understanding the End Times (Kim Riddlebarger)

You know the One Thousand Years?  It started at Pentecost.  We’re in it now.  The beginning has begun.  Gear up; man up; get your freak on; do whatever it takes to prepare for the new Universe and its King.

Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections Between Sexuality and Spirituality (Rob Bell)

The Nooma guy has some great ideas but has also attracted criticism for being slippery.  This will be the first of his books I’ve read.

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Arthur Davis

Arthur Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

5 replies

  1. I’m going to a teaching conference led by Rob Bell (Nooma guy) here in a few weeks. He’s sharp. I’ve found that most of the criticism he receives is largely from misunderstandings. I’m continually surprised by how his mind ties ideas together.

    Good reading list, by the by.

    1. The other one is I got recently is On Rowan Williams: Critical Essays (ed. Matheson Russell). The contributors are all newer-school AU and NZ guys, and the first two essays are by Ridley guys.

      Welcome! Where is ‘here’ for you? And how did you find us?

      That’s mostly been my impression too — Rob Bell’s so earnest about (eg) speaking in narrative that I wonder if evangelicals don’t ‘get’ him, just because he’s not speaking their language.

  2. Hi “us”. I’m from Indiana, USA. A few years back I spent 7 months as an intern with and Anglican congregation in Hobart, Well Spring (formerly BayWest). I’m a regular reader of my mate, Chris Bowditch’s blog and he links to yours. Hence, I see your blog titles on his blog and sometimes wander over here. I am now a youth pastor in the states. Nice e-meeting you.

    I find that Bell says so much when he speaks that it is unfair to use a line from a book or even a short quote from a sermon to critique him. If he teaches in narrative we must understand him in narrative when he is usually critiqued propositionally. I’m sure he is fallible but for my money he is one of the most well grounded and consistent preachers I know of. He’s an artist with words.


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