On this Rock
Bible Foundations for Christian Living
ISBN 1 84101 238 6
BRF, 2003, £3.99
(price at publication of review)
Stephen Cottrell's ministry is driven by a desire to see people grow into the fullness of Christian discipleship, and this book is likely to be an effective means to that end. He also has a clear love of scripture, and the book is written in the format of 28 reflections on bible readings (printed) designed for daily use and guiding the reader through the ups and downs of the life of the apostle Peter. As Stephen Cottrell says in his introduction, Peter is chosen not for his 'brilliance or even his faithfulness, but because he shows us what being a disciple of Jesus is actually like.' As it follows Peter through various scattered New Testament passages the book does exactly that, making clear the relevance of Peter's experience and the biblical witness to many aspects of Christian discipleship today. The introduction also includes a brief but helpful and balanced section on 'The Authority of Scripture' and elsewhere in the book various insights of scholarship are gently included without any great attention being drawn to them for their own sakes, and in a manner which strengthens faith whilst accepting what is helpful and reasonable from the disciplines of Biblical criticism.
The book is designed for new Christians, and the essentials of Christian life, including the sacraments, Christian witness and service in the world, and regular prayer and bible reading are all touched upon. I was pleased to see a gentle encouragement towards such disciplines as the use of Sacramental Confession. The book is also intended however 'for more experienced Christians who want to re-set the compass of their discipleship.' Having read the book in its intended way for daily reflection, rather than more rapidly as a detached 'reviewer', I could recommend it for that readership too, as an encouragement and occasional challenge for anyone prepared to come to the book with an appropriate humility of approach.
Desmond Alban SSF
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