Book Reviews

Review of Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering by Makoto Fujimura
Book Reviews , Philosophy , Theology / August 30, 2016

Fujimura, Makoto. Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2016, pp. 261, $26, hardback. Makoto Fujimura is a distinguished contemporary visual artist, specializing in a traditional Japanese style of painting known as nihonga. As the founder of the International Arts Movement and the director of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller Theological Seminary, Fujimura is a prominent voice in the field of theology and the arts. He has written multiple books in this field, including Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art and Culture (NavPress, 2009) and Culture Care (Fujimura Institute and International Arts Movement, 2014). In Silence and Beauty, Fujimura interacts with Shusaku Endo’s acclaimed twentieth-century novel, Silence, to explore the nature of faith and grace in the midst of failure—and to engage with philosophical issues such as the problem of evil and the hiddenness of God in times of suffering (pp. 27-28). For Fujimura, Endo’s novel grants insight into the nature of Japanese culture, aesthetics, and Christianity. The novel chronicles the apostasy of seventeenth-century Christian missionaries to Japan who publicly renounced Christ by stomping on fumi-e, which are “relief bronze sculptures [of Jesus and Mary]” (p. 23). Those…

Review of A Time to Keep: Theology, Mortality, and the Shape of Human Life by Ephraim Radner
Book Reviews , Philosophy , Theology / August 15, 2016

Radner, Ephraim. A Time to Keep: Theology, Mortality, and the Shape of Human Life. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2016, pp. 304, $49.95, hardback. The significance and meaning of the anthropos has and continues to capture the imagination of ancient and contemporary reflections. Several recent reflections highlight human constitution, the afterlife, sexuality, and race, among others. Ephraim Radner’s A Time to Keep touches on these important topics, but his approach is unique. Radner claims that an understanding of humanity must take into account the theological nature of time. Radner makes an important contribution that advances a rich vision of humanity situated in the scriptural story, guided by various theological authorities, and informed by the social sciences. Radner advances the argument that humans are relational (i.e., filliated) beings shaped and molded by God’s design of creation, redemption, and death. On that basis, he exhorts us to count our days. Our days are numbered as creatures. Between birth and death, we have a vocation and purpose. Life, death, toil and generative relationship shapes and forms the patterns of human living (p.16). Radner sees this reality in the “figural” portrayal of redemption in “tunics of skins” or clothes, which is a metaphor for the…

Review of Origins: God, Evolution, and the Question of the Cosmos by Philip Rolnick
Book Reviews , Philosophy / May 23, 2016

Rolnick, Philip. Origins: God, Evolution, and the Question of the Cosmos. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2015, pp.vii + 252, $39.95, hardback. Philip Rolnick serves as Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota as well as Chair of the Science and Theology Network in the Twin Cities. In addition to Origins, Rolnick has authored and edited several books, such as Person, Grace, and God (Eerdmans, 2007), Analogical Possibilities: How Words Refer to God (Oxford, 1993), Reflections on Grace (Cascade Books, 2007), and Explorations in Ethics: Readings from Across the Curriculum (Greensboro College Press, 1998). Rolnick has also written numerous chapters in books, articles, and book reviews whose topics range from evolution and theology to anthropology. Origins is a helpful book for any student of the Bible who seeks to understand the current debate between evolution and theology. Rolnick approaches Origins with the view that “science and religious faith are not only compatible, but even mutually illuminating” (p. 4); they are “partners in the search for truth” (p. 5). When it comes to the origin of the universe, “divine creativity and reason are unquestionably present and scientifically discoverable” (p. 6). Thus, for the believer today, learning…