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Being Human by Steve Chalke

How to become the person you were meant to be

Being Human ChalkeBeing Human
How to become the person you were meant to be
By Steve Chalke
Hodder and Stoughton
ISBN: 978-1-444-78948-5
Reviewer: Pieter Lalleman

Steve Chalke, Baptist minister but so much more, has written a book to help us become better people. 

With a mixture of biblical and psychological wisdom he challenges the reader, for example when he writes, 'Wake up! Explore your spiritual intelligence! Do life differently' (cf. p.78). 

Early on he explains what following Jesus means to non-Christian readers, and from then on he addresses believers on the issue of character development. 

Chalke shows convincingly that the development of a godly character requires perseverance and he does not offer quick fixes; he abhors lists of rules and instead he emphasises the effort required to develop good habits. Many of the examples are taken from his own 45 years of experience as a follower of Jesus. 

Just when you think that the secular wisdom rather overshadows the Gospel in the book, Chalke returns to Jesus’ message of love and non-violence. The book reads easily and yet the content is a real challenge.
 
Yet after 17 attractive and commendable chapters something goes badly wrong: Chalke adds a series of unconnected chapters on theological issues: one each on Judas, on religious tolerance, on apartheid, on the Lord’s Supper and on the atonement; on this last chapter he repeats the views which caused such a stir ten years ago. 

Worst of all are the two chapters on the Old Testament and its hard passages, in which Chalke rejects much of what the OT says about God. He calls some stories in the OT 'shocking, violent and brutal' (p.174).  Take these words from page 222: ‘… the Hebrew scriptures, where it is assumed that God is a Jew.’ This is too bad to merit comment.
 
By all means buy the book and read up to page 169; please ignore the remainder.
 

 
Dr Pieter J. Lalleman teaches New Testament at Spurgeon’s College
 

Baptist Times, 03/09/2015
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