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The Last Word and the Word After That
A tale of faith, doubt and a new kind of Christianity
by Brian D McLaren
Publisher:SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
McLaren polarises opinion. The Last Word is the final part of Brian McLaren's New Kind of Christian trilogy, and retains the proceeding two books' characters, narrative flow, and 'creative nonfiction' style. Pastor Dan has been suspended by his church for being a potential heretic, his friend Neil invites him to be part of a neo-monastic community, lots of people get married, and everyone is talking about hell. This final book brings the church crisis to a head but first forces Dan to deal with the most painful part of the Christian story - the teachings of Jesus on hell.
Many will consider McLaren's writing and this series of books nothing more than liberal universalism but having been and still considering myself to be entirely convinced of the validity of the Bible for "teaching, correcting and rebuking" I think these arguments hold little water for clear thinking mature readers. This book will challenge your theology, your faith and your compassion for your fellow man and for most Christians none of these will be a bad thing. A brave and uncertain write for the exploratory heart.
Sometimes the book suffers from the painful insertion of really deep theology into a story which groans from the effort of carrying so much meaning. Illustrations are pushed too far. It is provocative, helpful and unresolved.
Reviewer: Johnny Douglas (31/05/13)