24 Hours that Changed the World by Adam Hamilton (Abingdon Press)
It began with a meal Thursday and ended with a burial Friday. But as Christians for 2,000 years have declared, the story continued Sunday morning with victory over the grave. In 24 Hours that Changed the World, Adam Hamilton provides a compelling look at the events surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion.
Hamilton, pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan., invites readers to walk, step by step, alongside Jesus through the hours leading to his death. He approaches the subject seriously, exploring various views about the Atonement and providing the latest findings from archaeology to shed light on the crucifixion. Even so, he writes in an approachable way, accessible to the average layperson.
Hamilton generally follows the sequence of events presented in Gospel of Mark, but he supplements that general outline with insights from the other three Gospels. Wisely, he does not end the book with the death of Jesus. His final chapter, “Christ the Victor,” explores the Resurrection as a vindication of Jesus’ identity, message and ministry and proof of God’s sovereignty over death.
Divided into seven chapters, 24 Hours that Changed the World would provide an appropriate daily devotional guide for Passion Week. Better yet, don’t wait until Palm Sunday. Read it once as Lenten preparation, and then reread it during the days leading to Easter. It will make the season even more significant.
Ken Camp, managing editor
The Turning by Davis Bunn (River North Fiction)
In The Turning, Christy Award-winning author Davis Bunn traces the paths of five believers who “take the turning, and walk the unlikely road.” As they submit to God’s call, God heals broken relationships and unites unlikely companions.
God calls Alisha Seames, for example, to apologize to her sister, but first, she must overcome her racism toward her brother-in-law. The emotional depth of the characters and their true-to-life stories produce a compelling narrative.
Although the characters shine, the plot fizzles. The protagonists oppose a media conglomerate’s new advertising campaign. The engaging characterization and suspense generate anticipation that the main conflict fails to match. Furthermore, some readers may question how God leads the protagonists to address the conflict. How should Christians relate to culture?
Although the plot falls short, the immersive world, the reminder of God’s work in the world and the call to obedience make The Turning worth reading. Christians who read inspirational fiction likely will enjoy this book.
Nathan Fowler, student
Dallas Theological Seminary