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Low percentage of Evangelical anxiety

30 January 2015

Mike Starkey misses the hard questions in this invitation to faith

100% Christianity: How the gospel changes everything
Jago Wynne
IVP £8.99
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EVANGELICALS are currently engaged in some very public heart-searching. Can we sing hymns about God's wrath any longer? Is Christ really unique? Does everybody find God in the end? Does atonement have to be substitutionary and penal? While the likes of Dave Tomlinson, Rob Bell, and Brian McLaren are declaring some traditional Evangelical dogmas no longer fit for purpose, others are wrestling with how to restate them sensitively in a changing culture. Against this backdrop, it is unusual to read an Evangelical presentation of the gospel which appears quite free from anxiety about contemporary sensitivities.

Jago Wynne has served on the staff of Holy Trinity, Brompton, and All Souls', Langham Place, and is currently an Associate Rector in Clapham. He expounds themes in Romans, with a view to showing how only a fully biblical gospel, rigorously applied, will satisfy the deepest yearnings of the human spirit. Each chapter includes a passage from Romans, followed by doctrinal reflections from Wynne, a personal testimony and prayer, plus questions for discussion.

The author's concern is to underline the timeless relevance of doctrines such as justification by faith. Christianity makes sense, he says, only when we are clear that it is the solution to the problem of God's wrath. But Wynne's doctrine remains strangely unrooted in real-world concerns. His chapter "Why Christianity is 100% Inclusive", for instance, contains no hint that for most people today church "inclusivity" is primarily a debate about sexual orientation.

Wynne's style is breezy and homely, and his children Daisy and Boaz make regular appearances. The principal readership of this book is likely to be conservative Evangelical students who share the author's core assumptions. But I suspect that even they will wonder why it brackets out so many of the hard questions that others are asking.

The Revd Mike Starkey is a tutor for the Church Army, and a freelance writer.

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