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Alister McGrath – Through A Glass Darkly - Journeys through Science, Faith and Doubt: a memoir

Hodder Books Price 14.99 225 Pages ISBN 978 1 529 32760 1

Alister McGrath is well known as both a trained scientist and theologian, who has made significant contributions to both fields. He is also well-known for facilitating a conversation between these two great disciplines.

Over the past three decades and more, I have benefited so much from McGrath’s wisdom on things like Luther’s theology of the Cross, Reformation spirituality, apologetics and the thought world inhabited by CS Lewis.

Like Lewis, Alister McGrath originally was born in Belfast and began his university career in Oxford. Also, like Lewis he spent his early academic life attracted to atheism. This memoir relates how the young McGrath took a journey through a variety of ideas to discover faith in Christ, having wrestled honestly with doubt.

It was in reading the Greek text of Mark’s Gospel that a teenage McGrath encountered the word metanoia (repent), and as a result his imagination was captured.

“The Christian gospel was an invitation to reimagine reality, to think in new and more expansive ways, to adopt a new imaginative template, to look through a telescope that would bring reality into a sharper focus, showing the world as it really was.” 

Then in reading CS Lewis the “big picture” of Christianity formed in his mind:

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.” 

That seems to have formed the subtext of a distinguished academic career, that has been marked by honest enquiry, thorough research, faithful imagination and penetrating clarity.

Here is a readable account of how to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength.

John Woods is a writer and Bible teacher based in West Sussex

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