News, Theology

Ten Theology Books to Watch For – April 2023

Here are some excellent new theology books * that will be released in April 2023 :

* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology

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Theology Books April 2023

Trauma-Informed Evangelism: Cultivating Communities of Wounded Healers

Charles Kiser and Elaine Heath

(Eerdmans)

“We are at the forefront of a new reformation.” 

So declares Elaine Heath in Trauma-Informed Evangelism, aiming to recover the God of love from the structures of hate that pervade Christian communities in America today. In their new guide, she and Charles Kiser work toward bringing this reformation to fruition through ministering specifically to the spiritually traumatized.

Over the course of their study, Kiser and Heath amplify the voices of those who suffered misogynistic, racist, or homophobic abuse at the hands of the church. While carefully listening to these stories, Kiser and Heath bring them into conversation with the passion and resurrection of Jesus. Engaging with womanist and liberation theology, they see in the crucifixion a God who does not valorize suffering but shares the experience of the traumatized. Ultimately, this theodicy leads them to propose a new evangelism—one based not on fear and coercion but on witnessing the unconditional love of God.

Timely, theologically informed, and eminently practical, Trauma-Informed Evangelism will serve as a formative guide for church leaders and students seeking to aid trauma survivors in their communities. Discussion questions conclude each chapter.


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Theology Books April 2023

Beauty Is a Basic Service: Theology and Hospitality in the Work of Theaster Gates

Maria Fee

(Fortress Press)

Grounded on a passionate belief in the integrative and unifying function of art that further incarnates God’s hospitality, the book argues that the projects of Chicago artist Theaster Gates are theological sites, places to encounter God and his truth concerning place, people, and things. By exploring Gates’ practices, attention is drawn to corollary actions of God’s care, reconciliation, and vivification of creation and culture. Hence, Gates’ hospitality points to God’s hospitality.

These qualities then become the framework of a theology of hospitality, which provides a robust paradigm for Christian discipleship and mission. The study gathers the work of theologians, artists, as well as other scholars from a variety of discourses and various traditions to advocate holistic stewardship of God’s creation. These diverse voices comprise a rich conversation of theology and aesthetics to exhibit the way art can critique and resist various modes of Western detachment.

Indeed, hospitality is paramount to this end, especially amid rising hostilities concerning land management. Gates’ art programs defy the denigration of place, people, and things by engendering practices that validate creation and culture. By assessing Gates’ work, a type of faith is exhibited that stretches beyond theological assertions to also comprise reviving embodied transactions.

*** Which of these theology books of April 2023 do you want to read first?

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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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