Review of Brad Jersak’s “A More Christlike Way” – by Rob Grayson
I’ve been dabbling in amateur theology for a few years now. One of the main reasons I find theology a worthwhile pursuit – beyond the pure intellectual joy of contemplating and wrestling with some of life’s biggest questions – is that our theology inescapably affects how we inhabit and move through the world. Our actions mostly flow out of our attitudes, which in turn are strongly influenced by what we believe about ultimate reality – which, after all, is what theology is all about.
My own theological journey has been one of significant change over the past decade or so. My perspective on key issues like the character of God, the nature of Jesus, the atonement, forgiveness, sin, salvation, and so on is very different now from what it was not so long ago. And I’m not alone: largely through the magic of the internet, I’m fortunate to have gained a great many friends who’ve been on or are still on similar journeys. Perhaps now more than ever before, people all over the world are challenging stale orthodoxies and discovering healthier, more life-giving ways to think about God and faith.
However, remodelling your long-held beliefs is not for the faint of heart: when seeming certainties you’ve been taking for granted for decades are suddenly thrown open to question, it can be a challenging and sometimes bewildering process. Adding to the difficulty, those in the midst of theological reorientation can often find themselves feeling quite isolated as the people with whom they’ve shared their faith experience thus far prove unable (and/or unwilling) to provide answers to their questions or even to sympathise with their plight.
In the midst of such a potentially disconcerting and confusing time, wouldn’t it be great to have a guide who was both theologically learned and pastorally sensitive, someone who could shed light on our big theological conundrums at the same time as empathising with our very real and personal struggles along the way?
Brad Jersak is one such guide. His long years of pastoral service in the Protestant charismatic world combined with his deep and erudite knowledge of theology right back to the church’s earliest years (Brad is a both a professor of New Testament and an ordained reader in the Eastern Orthodox church in his native Canada) mean he is uniquely equipped to help us navigate the theological path that leads to a fuller, richer and deeper understanding of God. Those who have read his last book, A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel, know this already. Now, in his follow-up book A More Christlike Way: A More Beautiful Faith, Brad sets out to answer the question, “How then should we live?”