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"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Derek Schuurman Shaping a Digital World

Book cover

Shaping a Digital World
Faith, Culture and Computer Technology
Derek C. Schuurman
Downers Grove: IVP Academic
ISBN-13: 978-0-8308-2713-8
Pbk, 138pp, £12.99

Derek Shuurman, professor of Computer Science at Redeemer, Ontario, has done all Christian technophobes and technophiles a favour. He has written a superb book on how to view technology from a Christian perspective. This book could be described as Creation Regained upgraded for a computer age.

Like Al Wolter's Creation Regained, Schuurman writes from an unashamedly neo-calvinist perspective. Kuyperian themes are embedded in the book. The first chapter introduces technology and exposes the myth that technology is neutral; others deal with Creation (ch 2), Fall (ch 3) and Redemption (ch 4); structure and direction, the antithesis, Dooyeweerd's modal aspects and the norms associated with each are discussed in relation to computer technology (ch 4). This might give the impression that this book is only for graduates - this couldn't be further from the truth. The book will be accessible to most with a good secondary education.

Four pages of discussions questions - a set for each chapter - provide an excellent basis for small group discussions. Further resources to support the book can be found on the book's companion website.

The book began as a series of notes to the question: "What does my faith have to do with my work as an electrical engineer?" In the book Schuurman seeks to answer the question: "What do [computer] bytes have to do with Christian beliefs?" He ably shows us how a Christian worldview informed by the scriptures can help us see the lordship of Christ in the area of (computer) technology.

This book is essential reading for all Christians who have contact with computers - and that would include most Christians! But even the Amish would find much here to illuminate and edify. If you are pastor buy several and give one to each of your students who are leaving for university in September. It will give them an excellent model through which to think about not only technology but also their chosen subject.

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