Tim Chester- Truth We Can Touch: How Baptism and Communion Shape Our Lives

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave and Tim Chester talk about the purpose and nature of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, how Christian’s shared stories give them identity and shape the way they live, along with his new book, Truth We Can Touch: How Baptism and...

Monitor Your Motives

Philippians 1:15-18a, “Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict...

Pastor, Don’t Quit—Learn to Lament

When Ministry Wears You Out Years ago, I remember hearing a seasoned pastor say, “Ministry would be a cake-walk if it wasn’t for people.” His tongue-in-cheek statement revealed what people know: pastoral ministry is hard. It isn’t long until the passionate calling...

If Jesus Wept, We Can Too

Quickly after becoming a Christian, I developed my theology of suffering. I had all the answers to the hard questions of life (or so I thought) and thought surely those answers would be all I needed to face any kind of suffering headed my way. With Romans 8:28 written...

The Reason You Are Married

Marriage for God’s Glory The ultimate thing to see in the Bible about marriage is that it exists for God’s glory. Most foundationally, marriage is the doing of God. Most ultimately, marriage is the display of God. It is designed by God to display his glory in a way...

#34: Faithful In Friendship[Sermon]

Join Dave as he continues our 1 Samuel series looking at 1 Samuel 23:15-29.
Augustine, Augustine on the Christian Life: Transformed by the Power of God (Gerald Bray), Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace
Augustine on the Christian Life: Transformed by the Power of God (Gerald Bray)

Posted On October 16, 2016

Every volume in the Theologians on the Christian Life series produced by Crossway continues to help readers make progress in their understanding of church history and the key figures that brought us to where we are. The thing I love about this series is that each author has his own approach to helping the reader understand the life of these theologians. Some take a more biographical journey, while others focus more on his works and his theology. Some rely on the context of their ministry to drive the tone and shape of the book. Each offering is unique and insightful. So, of course, we can expect something intriguing when we discover that noted church historian Gerald Bray has written a volume on the life of the most prominent theologian in all of church history, Augustine.

In the preface, Bray makes his intentions clear, “I hope that readers who are approaching [Augustine] for the first time will be encouraged to go further and learn more about this fascinating man, while those who are already familiar with him may be challenged to see him in a new light” (14).

Bray spreads out 5 chapters over 200 pages, which is a bit unusual for a book like this, even in this series. So, these chapter headings are major treatments of the key streams of Augustine’s life. Chapter 1 analyzes the context, considering his status and his life historically, including family, career, and socio-economic details. Chapters 2-4 explores Augustine the Believer, the Teacher, and the Pastor, each with their own distinct storyline. The final chapter explores Augustine’s influence on today’s church, and how his life still carries a significant role for us. I honestly grew a little weary at times in the midst of these long chapters, as I usually read chapter(s) at a time. But this is more of a formality than anything.

I will say that I felt like this book was more a “textbook” than anything. What I mean by this is, I feel like anyone who is attempting to study Augustine critically, or anyone attempting to write about or teach about Augustine will benefit greatly from this new piece of research material they have in the Bray’s volume. Bray has done a wonderful job of assimilating facts about Augustine’s life, excerpts from Augustine’s writings, and offering his own perspectives on certain positions and thoughts Augustine had. It doesn’t read like most biographies, and the chapters do not follow a chronological order, but I think that is to this book’s benefit. The layering of how each of these areas (believer, teacher, pastor) impacted his life is a great way to organize the book. Not to mention, Chapter 1 is one of the most detailed and well-written summations of a theologian’s life, that this chapter alone accomplishes this biographical survey just fine.

Bray writes with such clarity that this book (like his others) are so easy to read, though they contain often very heady and technical subject matter. Anyone who has read Augustine and varying opinions about Augustine knows that one trying to unpack Augustine’s theology for someone to rightly understand is a challenging task. For example, in “Augustine the Teacher” Bray summarizes some of Augustine’s key theological points in mere pages, such as his theology of love (106-107), sin (130), and predestination (133-134). This book is very deep, and very concise given the amount that could be said of a man like Augustine.

Overall, this book is absolutely a worthy addition to your bookshelves. Anyone who seeks to understand what books like The City of God and Confessions have to offer us today would be benefitted by Bray’s contribution. I love his perspective on Augustine’s legacy. “Augustine will continue to be read from a variety of different angles, and his works will not be consigned to oblivion.They are much too important for that” (197). He couldn’t be more right, and thankfully, Augustine on the Christian Life proves that.

Related Posts

Augustine, Augustine on the Christian Life: Transformed by the Power of God (Gerald Bray), Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

Monitor Your Motives

Philippians 1:15-18a, “Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict...

Augustine, Augustine on the Christian Life: Transformed by the Power of God (Gerald Bray), Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

Pastor, Don’t Quit—Learn to Lament

When Ministry Wears You Out Years ago, I remember hearing a seasoned pastor say, “Ministry would be a cake-walk if it wasn’t for people.” His tongue-in-cheek statement revealed what people know: pastoral ministry is hard. It isn’t long until the passionate calling...

Augustine, Augustine on the Christian Life: Transformed by the Power of God (Gerald Bray), Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

If Jesus Wept, We Can Too

Quickly after becoming a Christian, I developed my theology of suffering. I had all the answers to the hard questions of life (or so I thought) and thought surely those answers would be all I needed to face any kind of suffering headed my way. With Romans 8:28 written...

Augustine, Augustine on the Christian Life: Transformed by the Power of God (Gerald Bray), Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

The Reason You Are Married

Marriage for God’s Glory The ultimate thing to see in the Bible about marriage is that it exists for God’s glory. Most foundationally, marriage is the doing of God. Most ultimately, marriage is the display of God. It is designed by God to display his glory in a way...

0 Comments

Tweet8
Share6
Share
Pin
Buffer