This is vintage Chalke, with all his strengths and weaknesses. In short chapters, passionately written and peppered with stories – many about himself – Chalke encourages people to shrug off the false stories they live in and discover ‘how to be the person you were meant to be’ by living in the story of Jesus’ inclusive love.
The best parts of this book, which focus on developing habits, are ‘Tom Wright lite’. But there are serious weaknesses here. Chalke argues that we’re all made in God’s image, and that’s where God’s inclusive love starts. True. But why stop at Genesis 2 and ignore Genesis 3, the story of the fall and exclusion from Eden?
The book recycles much that Steve has advocated recently. Jesus tore up the Pharisees’ rulebook. True. He challenged the actual text of the Bible. False. The Bible is a human book. True, but isn’t it also divinely inspired? Chalke rejects the dictation theory of inspiration (who holds it?) and concludes that this diminishes the Bible’s authority. Wrong.
He continues to dismiss penal substitution on the basis of caricatures. He denies that any of us have a monopoly on the truth, so we must give up dogmatism towards other religions. True premise, wrong conclusion.
Despite all the passion and my admiration for Oasis, I can’t recommend this book.
DEREK TIDBALL is a pastor who previously served as principal at the London School of Theology