Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hearing the Call

Hearing the Call: Liturgy, Justice, Church and World, essays by Nicholas Wolterstorff; edited by Mark R. Gornik and Gregory Thompson. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011. 440 pp. $30.00. ISBN 978-0-8028-6525-0.
Reviewed by John E. Shaffett
This is the author's version of a work that was submitted/accepted for publication in the following source:
The Christian Librarian 55(2) 2012/56(1) 2013: 43.
Nicholas Wolterstorff has written many thoughtful works over the years. Hearing the Call is a collection of essays he has written over a fifty year period. “This collection of popular and semi-popular essays” is his response to certain issues he considers of the utmost importance: liturgy, justice, the church, and the world. Wolterstorff stands in the Dutch Reformed tradition and has been influenced by the thought of Abraham Kuyper, the Dutch theologian and statesman of the nineteenth century. This book is meant for a wider audience, however. The author and editors chose essays that would be applicable to people outside of the reformed tradition.
The book is divided into four part parts: liturgy, justice, church, and the world. The book also includes two interviews with the author. These interviews and the two autobiographical essays fit in well with the collection of essays. The author and editors have been careful to keep the essays from repeating itself.  Wolterstorff writes clear, understandable prose. Hearing the Call is written for a broad audience and succeeds in addressing key issues that will be clear to this audience.
Some of the key issues addressed in this book are the difference between justice and love. The author believes that all persons bear the image of their creator and that they have certain rights. He shows how justice is emphasized by the Old Testament prophets. Wolterstorff describes how he became confronted with the issue of justice in regards to the Palestinians and the blacks of South Africa. He also addresses the issue of women in the ministry. Other issues addressed by Wolterstorff: patriotism, church architecture, art, economics and many other issues.

Wolterstorff has addressed important issues in a thoughtful way. He has shown how both the liturgy and working for justice is important.  He thinks one of the most important things that the Christian scholar can do is to keep alive the memory of Christian tradition. He draws from this tradition in many of his essays. It is no accident being a teacher for many years that Wolterstorff teaches us many important truths that we need to know.

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