Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Hardyman: Glory Days - a review
Glory Days: Living the Whole of Your Life for Jesus
ISBN 978-184474-153-3; 160 pp; pbk; £6.99
This is a great little book. Julian Hardyman, the senior pastor at Eden Baptist, Cambridge, UK, has produced an accessible, engaging and entertaining book. He writes to show that there is no thumb breadth of life in which Christ is not interested. He introduces many kuyperian ideas – though strangely Abraham Kuyper doesn’t get a mention.
It’s an easy read; it only took me a few hours to finish it. This is its great advantage. It will be ideal introductory book for Christian students from sixth form onwards. It will be perfect for those who would find The Transforming Vision and Creation Regained a little daunting. The book comes from a similar perspective from these two though more kuyperian/ schaefferian than reformational. Though the phrase 'world-view' is used only five times (in ch 12), it is a book about a distinctively Christian world-view. Al Wolters, Walsh and Middleton, Cornelius Plantinga, Richard Mouw and Michael Wittemer are cited copiously and their ideas are freely drawn upon.
Hardyman writes to expose the shallow dualism and the narrow closed pietism incipient in much of modern evangelicalism and does so, not in a negative way, but by presenting a positive biblical alternative. He wants each day to be a glory day, a day where we can do all things, and that includes football, chess, watching films, going to the office, sweeping the floor or doing a crossword, to the glory of God. The ideas it contains are not new to neo-calvinists, but they will be new to the typical British - or even North American - evangelical student starting college. If you know of any such students make them read this book: in doing so you will help save their studies and their time at university.
The book is split into two parts: ‘Days of glory in the Bible’ and ‘Our glory days’. The first part traces the biblical groundmotive (though he doesn’t use that term) of creation, fall and redemption. Stress is rightly placed on the cultural mandate, which he describes as the First Great Commission, and being the image bearers of God. He calls our call to keep and tend the garden, the Human Cultural Project. Drawing upon Tom Wright he places the emphasis on the renewed earth, where ‘the glory of God comes down to us’ rather than us being whisked off , or beamed up, to a non-physical heaven.
The second part examines the two great commandments (Gn 1:26ff and Mt 28:18ff), work, being citizens and our callings. Here is no narrow life-denying perspective. This is no insipid liebfraumilch gospel; this is a full-bodied, full-bloodied, life-affirming gospel, a Shiraz gospel that is concerned with every area and aspect of life – the Mondays through Saturdays as well as the Sundays.
As someone who was converted at university and then became enmeshed in a dualistic framework, where prayer, bible study and evangelism took priority over lectures, this book would have been perfect to wake me up to the wide ranging implications of the gospel of the kingdom. This book is an important wake up call for us all to take the discipleship of Christ seriously, so we can enjoy God’s good gifts and ‘do all for the glory of God’ (1 Cor 10: 31)