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Steve Chalke - Being Human: How to become the person you were meant to be

Hodder and Stoughton, 306 pages, £12.99 ISBN 978 1 444 78948 5

A book by Steve Chalke is always entertaining, provocative and worthwhile. He has the ability to scratch where people itch as he addresses issues that people care about in terms that are accessible to the average reader. This book on the important subject of "being human" is no exception. 

Chalke seeks to take the ought and the grind out of being a Christian by challenging and looking to dismantle the barriers that keep us from making headway as Christians. In the process he uses some brilliant quotes and tells some great stories. It is difficult to see how one could read a book like this without being helped in some way. 

Yet, there is a but. In the attempt to be inclusive, Chalke is in danger of painting a caricature of more conservative Christians. I guess that one of the key red lines that Chalke challenges is a conservative view of what is happening when Jesus died on the cross. There are many dimensions of the the cross of Jesus; it is always inadequate to stress one aspect, and neglect the others.  In this way those who see themselves as the targets of Chalke's criticism are wrong, but so is Chalke.

So, in short, this book is a mixed bag. Learn from it but read it with care.

John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle

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