REVELATION and divine self-revelation are relatively modern ideas, argues F. Gerald Downing in Formation for Knowing God: Imagining God: At one-ing, transforming for self-revealing. He returns to Jewish and early Christian texts to show that previous traditions believed God to be incomprehensible, and focused on faith, not knowledge (James Clarke & Co., £20.25; 978-0-227-17547-7).
Jerry Wallis offers a defence of the Christian doctrines of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. In so doing, he addresses the questions how a loving God could allow hell to exist, and why there is a need for an intermediate stage in the afterlife (BrazosPress, £12.99 (£11.70); 978-1-58743-356-6).
Cynthia Bennett Brown appraises the work of Emil Brunner and assesses its nature and limits in Believing Thinking, Bounded Theology. She seeks to introduce his theological methodology, which has been somewhat obscured by the prominence of better-known theologians of his time, most notably Karl Barth (James Clarke & Co., £15; 978-0-227-17592-7).
Theologies of renewal are needed if the growth that has been seen in the Charismatic movement is to be sustained and continue. These need to engage with practice and across traditions, Andy Lord, the author of Transforming Renewal, argues. He sets out on this journey by engaging in a discussion about the work and thought of Thomas Merton and David Watson (The Lutterworth Press, £15.50; 978-0-7188-94108).
Ambrose Mong shows how there is much in common between the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, which has been previously overlooked because of their historical divisions. In Purification of Memory, he gives a chapter to each of eight Orthodox theologians, among them Zizioulas, Bulgakov, and Lossky, to show how the Churches’ common heritage could and, he argues, should be a basis for unity (James Clarke & Co., £25.75; 978-0-227-17513-2).
Elizabeth Dodd explores a poet’s underlying theme in Boundless Innocence in Thomas Traherne’s Poetic Theology. This dimension of his work has become too neglected, she argues, which has led to some misconceived interpretations (Ashgate, £70 (£63); 978-1-4724-5397-6).