Does The Bible Really Say That?

Woods, Mark
Monarch (2016)
Does The Bible Really Say That?
[isbn=Does The Bible Really Say That?/]

Baptist journalist and pastor Mark Woods, it seems to me, in spite of the restraint of his language, has had just about enough of 'fundamentalist' Evangelical platitudes. In this admirably down-to-earth (or do I mean up-in-heaven?) book he successively questions the entrenched positions that: God plans our lives down to the last detail; prayer in general is about our needs and in particular concerns physical healing; the church exists to keep people out of hell; the state is not always an enemy; and that Genesis 1-3 is history. He then goes on to show that: the church can get in the way of spiritual growth, preaching is different from teaching; and, less theologically fascinating but much more important, forgiveness is difficult and should not be imposed on victims to let perpetrators off the hook. Likewise, people should not be allowed to invoke divine guidance when proposing changes they favour. I once heard a man behind me on a plane telling his colleague that God had told him to reform the accounts system!

Woods has a great deal to say on all these subjects which makes perfect sense but after sound analysis he tends to bury his equally sound conclusions. So, for example, having undertaken a highly constructive exegesis of the creation story he 'hides' his conclusion that LGBT (and any other subsequent letters you can think of) people are simply part of creation but given his own pastoral situation as a Baptist perhaps this is as far as he can go, given the sad tales he relates of more courageous pastors.

Like many books which take a pop at a position, it will be read most by those who need it least and vice versa but it was a good bit of fun even though Woods tried to take as much fun out of it as he possibly could.