So after posting my short review on Michael Bird’s ‘Evangelical Theology’ 2nd Edition, I had a quick glance at some reviews.
Well, suffice to say that Bird would need to have a hippo’s thick skin if he was going to read some of those reviews. Or, at least to wear his monocle.
I scanned a couple on ‘The Gospel Coalition’ website which includes the theology journal ‘Themelios’ these days. Stephen Williams is pretty hard-hitting in his review of Bird’s first edition. Matthew Barrett (writing for Credo from a Southern Baptist Seminary) goes into even more detail in his criticism but he still concludes with this positive assessment:
“While this review has been occupied mostly with criticism, readers should recognize that there’s far more in this volume to praise than to disparage. So many of his chapters present an orthodox, biblically driven, historically informed summary of theology that readers will find it valuable.”
I notice that Barrett’s review is on the Gospel Coalition site but does not appear to be accessible now through the Credo site (at least I couldn’t get there.)
Trevin Wax is much more sympathetic and supportive in his review of the 2nd edition on the Gospel Coalition site:
“Overall, the second edition of Evangelical Theology preserves everything that made the first edition so popular—an irenic, careful examination of key Christian truths within a gospel-centered framework, peppered with Bird’s humor. I trust the new edition will remain a resource to be consulted by students, professors, and pastors.“
Well, here in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney, there is certainly a pastor who is delighted to be able to pull out Bird’s resource and read it. Not only is there plenty to stimulate theological reflection, but also, as we near the 2022 Easter celebration, how good it is to find a quote like this of John Chrysostom’s paschal homily:
Christ is risen! And you, O death, are annihilated!
Christ is risen! And the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is risen! And the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen! And life is liberated!
Christ is risen! And the tomb is emptied of its dead;
For Christ having risen from the dead,
Is become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
To Him be glory and power, now and forever, and from all ages to all ages. Amen.
(Bird, p 504 – cited from Scot McKnight’s book ‘Community Called Atonement’.)