I had hoped this book would be for laypeople, helping them be able to share their faith through their story. It is not. It is an academic look at the theology of using (fictional) story as a means of telling people about God. It might be suitable as a text book or resource for a creative writing class in a Christian college as literary strategies are included.
I found the initial comments by McGrath to be the most enlightening. The culture today is not very much interested in rational arguments for the Christian faith. Proving something true through logic or rational thought does not have the impact it did a generation ago. More people may be open to story than they are a mental proof. Story engages more aspects of a person than just the mind. There has been encouragement recently to share one's faith in the context of their personal story, hence my hope this book would help the layperson do just that.
Potential Christian novelists who would like to have their writing be a means for readers to better understand or experience Christian belief will find much to think about in this book. Exploration of the works of Lewis, Sayers, and Tolkien, for example, will provide models to follow. McGrath identifies how these authors developed narratives to communicate aspects of the Christian faith. One example is the concept of sin in Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
If you are interested in the theology of using story for apologetics, this book is for you. If you want to know how to use your own story as a means of sharing your faith, this book will not help.
You can read an excerpt here.
My rating: 3/5 stars.
Alister E McGrath (Dphil and DD, University of Oxford, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts) is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University and director if the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion. He also serves as the Gresham Professor of Divinity, a public professorship in the City of London, established in 1597, that promotes the public engagement of theology with the leading issues of the day. He is the author of many books.
Baker Books, 176 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.