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Lliving on the Borders of Eternity

Living on the Borders of Eternity, by Robert Bluford, Jr.; Historic Polegreen Press: Mechanicsville, Va.; 500 pages, paperback. ISBN: 0-9754215-0-6,

Cost: $24.95, shipping and handling included.


Here is a little quiz. Pick out the people who are not Presbyterian in this list: Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, John Foster Dulles, John C. Calhoun, John Witherspoon, John Glenn, Jimmy Stewart, Fred Rogers.

The Reformation: A History

The Reformation: A History, by Diarmaid MacCulloch, Viking, 2003. 700 pages

When I picked up McCulloch's magisterial history of the Reformation, I thought perhaps I would spend a couple of hours dipping into it. I was in for a surprise. This large work of nearly 700 pages became almost an obsession for me as I engaged in a dialogue with this British theologian who has given us a passionate and opinion-filled discussion of the events we call the Reformation.


Bill Coffin is a man of intrepid one-liners and steadfast, exuberant faith. "Credo, I believe," as he says in the preface of this slim volume, "best translates 'I have given my heart to.'" (p. xv). Or, I would venture, two hearts. What comes through clearly in this compilation of sentences and paragraphs is God's incredible love for us, all of us, and, in gratitude, one person's giving of his "heart to the teaching and example of Christ" (ibid).

The Cross in Our Context: Jesus and the Suffering World

By Douglas John Hall
Augsburg Fortress. 2003. 2243 pp. Pb. $17.

— Review by Edwin W. Stock, Raleigh, N.C.

The author is a Canadian Lutheran scholar whose book was first delivered in 2002 as 10 lectures at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio. It is easy to read because it has an oral style. Yet, it is scholarly as it addresses Martin Luther's "thin tradition," a theology of the cross (theologia crucis) not well known or appreciated in Reformed Calvinistic branches, whose theology begins with the foundational pillar of the Sovereignty of God.

An Examined Faith: The Grace of Self Doubt

By James M. Gustafson
Augsburg Fortress. 2004. 128 pp. $15.

— Review by Ralph D. Bucy, Harrisonburg, Va.

From the cowardice that dares not face new truth
From the laziness that is contented with half-truth
From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth
Good Lord, deliver us.
(p. vii)

The Spirit of Adoption: At Home in God’s Family

By Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner
WJKP. 2003. 134 pp. Pb. $14.95.

Review by Stephen R. Montgomery, Memphis, Tenn.

It has become a cliché in book reviews to state that "this is a book that should be on every pastor’s bookshelf and every church library." In the case of Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner’s The Spirit of Adoption: At Home in God’s Family, the cliché rings true.

You Only Die Once: Preparing for the End of Life with Grace and Gusto

By Margie Little Jenkins

Integrity. 227 pp. Pb. $12.99. ISBN 1-59145-013-6

Review by — Judy Haas Smith, Bedford, Pa.

Margie Jenkins, a Presbyterian elder, has written an important book. It ranks somewhere between the first-aid manual and the phone book, and should well be in every home. With a master's degree in social work, she has specialized in grief counseling and therapy for nearly 30 years.

Niebuhr and His Age: Reinhold Niebuhr’s Prophetic Role and Legacy

By Charles C. Brown

Trinity Press International. 2002. 333 pp. Pb. $20. ISBN 1-56338-375-6

Review by Robert Dunham, Chapel Hill, N.C.

A decade after publishing the acclaimed hardback edition of Charles Brown's appreciative intellectual biography of Reinhold Niebuhr, Trinity Press International has made this important work more widely available in a paperback edition, updated by the author. The timing could not have been more auspicious (nor, perhaps, intentional), given the turn of world events in recent years.