Alister E. McGrath & Evangelical Theology.
Edited by Sung Wook Chung.

Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003. Paper, 364 pages. ISBN 0-8010-2639-3.

Though many American pastors may not be familiar with his work, Alister McGrath has been one of the most influential figures in evangelical theology over the past two decades. McGrath is Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Oxford and is Principal (President) of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. As the editor of this collection of essays suggests, his writing “has had a tremendous impact on the renaissance of evangelical theology over the last twenty years.”

Chung is one of McGrath’s former students and is now on the faculty at King College in Bristol, TN. He has assembled an interesting selection of essays for this volume, which correspond to McGrath’s fiftieth birthday. The first four essays deal with McGrath’s thought and writing on various topics: the cross, justification, science and faith, and postliberalism. Nine additional essays deal with a variety of theological topics (some only tangentially connected to McGrath). Among the eclectic team of contributors are William J. Abraham, Gerald Bray, Gabriel Fackre, John M. Frame, Clark Pinnock and others.

The chapter on “Postmodern Evangelical Apologetics?” by David K. Clark is one that is worth reading for pastors dealing with communicating the gospel in today’s culture. He raises important questions and offers some helpful insights in approaching postmoderns with the gospel.

As McGrath himself comments, “Many evangelical writers have treated postmodernity as self-evidently wrong, and been more than a little rude about those foolish enough to buy into it, and especially those evangelicals who have tried to take it seriously. The real problem is that the category of the ‘obvious’ is contested. What is obvious to an American evangelical, brought up within an intellectual framework heavily influenced by only slightly baptized modernist presuppositions, is certainly not obvious to a young college kid from [UCLA]. If anything is ‘obvious’ to this kid, it is our right to pick and choose, constructing worldviews that we happen to like in a kind of theological counterpart to fusion cuisine. The big challenge to the evangelical apologist is to step inside the worldview of postmodernity, and understand why so many find it attractive.”

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