Book info, including free downloads of A Poke In The Faith and Signposts to God A selection of book reviews and deliberations on mostly Christian topics If you like people’s life-stories, mine’s here for you to read at leisure A paper giving my perspective on the ‘Restoration’ movement in the UK Summaries of some key books reviewed on my blog pages
David Matthew
A Poke In The Faith SOUND FILES (mp3)
Individual chapter files in mp3 format, for down- loading and listening to with any media player, such as VLC. The table gives the chapter list and a summary of each chapter’s contents. Click to download.
You can email me by clicking here.
A Poke In The Faith - individual chapters (7th edn.)
Title & prelims
Title and preliminary details.
My background, reasons for writing, and aims.
Chapter 1
Tower of Faith
The disadvantages of an over-connected system of beliefs, using the ‘tower of blocks’ game analogy. Putting Jesus before the Bible.
Chapter 2
The Place of the Bible
The danger of idolising the Bible. Examples of how it is often confusing. How Bible-reading for all caused divisions in the church.
Chapter 3
What the Bible is Not
It is not a manual of church practice, life skills or even doctrinal correctness. It is not a contractual document full of ‘promises’.
Chapter 4
More on What the Bible is Not
It is not a history book in the normal modern sense. And it is not a science textbook.
Chapter 5
What the Bible Is
It is primarily a story - a saga of God’s dealings with humanity. And it is ‘wisdom’ literature. A look at inspiration, infallibility and inerrancy.
Chapter 6
Evolution and its Implications
Is evolution compatible with Genesis? The nature of the Pentateuch, and of Genesis in particular.
Chapter 7
Violence in the Bible
Facing the brutality in the Old Testament, which God himself seems to command sometimes. What is God really like?
Chapter 8
Bible Interpretation
The importance of hermeneutics in understanding the Bible. Examples: slavery, and the role of women in marriage and the church.
Chapter 9
Jesus the Interpretive Key
Jesus as the subject of the whole Bible. His own ethical hermeneutics and cherry-picking of the Old Testament.
Chapter 10
Bible Interpretation and Sexuality
How applying Jesus’ own hermeneutics could lead to a different attitude to homosexuality and gay marriage.
Chapter 11
More on the Bible and Sexuality
Further insights into the topic of the previous chapter, with real-life examples.
Chapter 12
Peering into Heaven
Questions on the ‘go to heaven when you die’ emphasis of traditional evangelicalism. A look at ‘the rapture’.
Chapter 13
Rethinking Hell
Current proposals for seeing hell as something other than ‘eternal conscious torment’. A look at immortality and ‘the wrath of God’.
Chapter 14
Why we like belief-systems. Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. A critique of Dispen- sationalism and Calvinism.
Chapter 15
Challenges to Calvinism
Sovereignty versus love as God’s primary attribute. Free will and the problem of evil. The ‘open view of the future’.
Chapter 16
God and Evil
Why doesn’t God, if he is both loving and powerful, do more to stop evil? Kenosis and uncontrolling love as possible reasons. Satan.
Chapter 17
Sinners by Nature?
Current questioning of the doctrine of original sin. Its development from Paul, through Augus- tine and Calvin.
Chapter 18
Gospel and Kingdom
What exactly is the gospel? Its relation to the four Gospels. And what exactly in the kingdom of God?
Chapter 19
The Atonement
Different ‘atonement theories’. Current reaction to penal substitutionary atonement. Questions about imputation and blood sacrifice.
Chapter 20
Justification and All That
The New Perspective on Paul and its challenges to the meaning of ‘justification’ and related terms like ‘the righteousness of God’.
Chapter 21
Further Morphing Terms
New Perspective views on the meaning of ‘works of the law’, ‘faith’ and ‘Christ’.
Chapter 22
Us and Them
The fate of the unevangelised. Universalism examined, plus the ‘wider hope’ and the theology of The Shack.
Chapter 23
Separate for What?
The purpose of our being ‘separate’. Sanctification and theosis. Attitudes to people of other religions.
Chapter 24
Overstepping the Mark?
Some writers and scholars may have gone too far in their questioning of some of the basics of evangelicalism.
Chapter 25
Where Do I Go from Here?
Suggested ways forward for those who have jettisoned the ‘tower of blocks’ approach to their faith.
Chapter 26
Categorising your Beliefs
In the interests of the unity Jesus prayed for, it will help to recognise that not all your beliefs are of equal importance.
Recommendation: listen to the whole book, since its chapters are interconnected and often overlap. But if you just want to look up a particular topic, the following list of chapter-files will at least start you off in the right direction.
Chapter 27 is entitled Tools for Digging Deeper. There is no sound-file for it as it is a list of books giving further details on the above topics. Please consult the text edition of A Poke In The Faith.
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