Cris Rogers, Authentic 2010
In this challenging and vibrant book, London-based church leader Cris Rogers makes his contribution to proclaiming the faith ‘afresh in each generation’ by retelling the gospel in a contemporary way and exploring its implications for the whole of life.
The foreword is written by the well-known ‘new monastic’ Shane Claiborne, and there is a strong social and communal element throughout the book. However, the style, if not the theology, reminded me even more of Rob Bell, whom I was surprised to find absent from the ‘further reading’ section.
There is the same punchy use of language, fresh angles on familiar topics, explanations of historical contexts, and a tendency to use Hebrew and Greek words rather than their more familiar, and perhaps misunderstood, English equivalents (Cris Rogers prefers to explain and use the Hebrew chatta’t instead of ‘sin’, for example). It’s a style that may appeal more to millennials than generation X-ers like me, but it could help that readership to take a new look at Christianity and find in it something far more attractive, subversive, wide-ranging and exciting than they had imagined.
What makes this book more than an anglicised Velvet Elvis are the often gritty stories from Cris Rogers’ own ministry (at All Hallows’, Bow in East London) and the seven powerful first-person testimonies of resurrection life. These were the sections that bumped me out of ‘I’ve-read-this-all-before’ mode and there is potential refreshment here for the jaded church leader who needs reminding that God is still at work and lives are still being changed, even in the UK. There are also study-guide style ‘thinking deeper’ sections at the end of each chapter which could be used by individuals or small groups.
Reviewed by James Leach