The following book review was written for The Messenger. Much more could be said about the book, but the word limit for book reviews in this publication is 250 words.
Lloyd Pietersen, Reading the Bible After Christendom (Harrisonburg, VA/Waterloo, ON: Herald Press, 2012
There is much lament over the diminished profile of the church in society. Pietersen is keenly aware of this reality yet remains optimistic about the possibility of significant positive benefit arising from a reading of scripture that authentically honours scripture, even when society appears to have rejected it.
Pietersen promotes a “reading from the margins” which reflects the situation and values of the early Anabaptist movement. While it may be true that the church no longer carries the influence that it has in times past, it does not follow that the truth of scripture can no longer effect positive change in people and society. Pietersen believes that this can happen when scripture is read from a place of weakness on the margins, yet with a strong voice of deep conviction that issues a clear challenge to the injustices perpetrated by a society that has lost its moorings.
Pietersen reviews how scripture has been read throughout church history, notes imbalances that were fostered by the church's prominence and authority, and highlights key characteristics of an Anabaptist reading. He rightly cites the biblical indication that Jesus Christ is the clearest revelation of God as the prime concern of an Anabaptist hermeneutic, and then does a high level flyover of the entire Bible that models this consideration. Unfortunately, in spite of the solid merit of this reading, the exegetical work lies beyond the scope of this book.
Reading the Bible After Christendom presents a solidly Christocentric call, and a roadmap, for a return to biblical truth.