Anyone who sets out to write an overview of the Bible has to find some sort of theme to tie to the work together, otherwise the whole thing will just spiral out of control. Remaking a Broken World by Christopher Ash revolves around the themes of gathering and scattering.
The thesis of this chapter, indeed the theme of the book, is precisely this: the ordinary local church with all its imperfections, weaknesses, oddities and problems, has within it the seeds, the spiritual and relational generic blueprint of a broken world remade. Here at last is not just God restraining human strife, but God actively gathering. There is in the church not just a treatment delaying the onset of scattering, but a cure actively replacing scattering with gathering. (p.138)
The book consists of four sections, each composed of a few short chapters:
- A Broken World: Scattered without God
- The Assembly of Israel: Gathering Foreshadowed
- The Assembly of Jesus: Gathering Realized
- The New Creation: Gathering Consummated
What the section headings cannot convey is the quality of the writing, which is excellent, nor the pastoral approach which seeks to make everything in the book relevant to the contemporary situation. This is good, solid Biblical theology which is relatively easy to read and very heart warming. If you are only going to read one book about the Bible for Biblefresh; this would be a very good place to start. All in all, it comes strongly reccomended.
That being said, I do have a couple of slight niggles about it. In following the theme of scattering and gathering; I don’t believe that the author has done full justice to the notion of diversity amongst the people of God. Linked to this, he has also fallen into the old trap of seeing Pentecost as a reversal of Babel. However, these are minor quibbles and probably wouldn’t occur to anyone who wasn’t involved in work with minority languages and groups.
These reservations apart, Remaking a Broken World along with The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story are the two Bible overviews that I would most strongly recommend.