June 09, 2021

Review: Hearers & Doers by Kevin J. Vanhoozer

 

Hearers and Doers: A Pastor's Guide to Growing Disciples Through Scripture and DoctrineHearers and Doers: A Pastor's Guide to Growing Disciples Through Scripture and Doctrine by Kevin J. Vanhoozer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kevin J. Vanhoozer has written perhaps the most helpful book for pastors that I've ever read. His claim that "reading Scripture theologically is the royal road to discipleship" (pg xi) is both, in my estimation, exactly right and and woefully under embraced. I'm not sure a lot of Christians would even know what to do with a phrase such as, "reading Scripture theologically."

This is not a how-to book in the sense of "start this program and run it for 75 days, followed by a 43 day fast, and 12 consecutive 24 minute prayer meetings, and viola! disciples." But neither is it a book that flies around in the stratosphere of theory. Vanhoozer puts forward a compelling biblical vision for what a disciple is, and then argues -perhaps argue isn't even the right word here- that God really did give us the right equipment when he gave us the Bible and not a step-by-step guidebook.

The reason I wonder if argue is the right word is that Vanhoozer advances much of this through metaphor-which is a strikingly biblical way to communicate, if foreign to many books about the Bible. The metaphors which dominate are the idea of fitness -that a disciple is meant to be one fit for service- and the concept of disciples as actors of God's story, given a proverbial script by God in his word, but this script doesn't give us the precise lines to say in every situation, but instead teaches us what is fitting, in such a way that if we fully inhabit the biblical story, when we enter our world we will know how to act in such a way as it fitting. Again, fitness. If with a slightly different shade of meaning.

I cannot commend this book highly enough to pastors and laypeople alike.

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About Me

Follower of Jesus. Husband of one. Father of four. Pastor at Remsen Bible Fellowship (remsenbible.com).