David: A Man of Passion and Destiny,by Charles Swindoll (Word, 236 pp.; $19.99, hardcover);

Leap Over a Wall: Earthy Spirituality for Everyday Christians,by Eugene Peterson (Harper San Francisco, 238 pp.; $18, hardcover). Reviewed by Susan Wise Bauer, who writes for Charles Colson's radio commentary, BreakPoint, and teaches literature at the College of William and Mary. She is the author of The Revolt (Word), a novel.

Back in the days of Saul, God chose a womanizing, foreskin-gathering guerrilla warrior to lead his people. Biblical biographers have been trying to explain God's taste ever since.

The most popular medieval technique was a nice coat of tropological whitewash—a valiant Moral of the Story, extracted from even the most disreputable Davidic deeds. Tropology entwined itself around our feet all through Vacation Bible School. David fought Goliath and won, so trust God when a "giant" (the big, mean kid down the street) wanders into view. David stared at Bathsheba and sinned, so if you see evil, look away. End of lesson. Is this why God gave us David's story?

Two new books—Charles Swindoll's David: A Man of Passion and Destiny and Eugene Peterson's Leap Over a Wall: Earthy Spirituality for Everyday Christians—grapple with that very question. Why does God want us to know that the man after his own heart deserted to the Philistines, raised dreadful kids, cheated on his (multiple) wives? Both writers are anxious to answer this question without whitewash; only one manages to bring David to full, roaring life.

Swindoll writes in his foreword, "Our world is desperately in need of models worth following. Authentic heroes. People of integrity, whose lives inspire us to do better, to climb higher, to stand taller." ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

July/August
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Tags:
From Issue:
Read These Next
Also in this Issue
Military Chaplains Win Speech Case Subscriber Access Only
Military Chaplains Win Speech Case
TrendingKay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Kay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Through God's work in our lives, we've beaten the odds that divorce would be the outcome of our ill-advised union.
Editor's PickThe Church's Biggest Challenge in 2017
The Church's Biggest Challenge in 2017
Let’s get unchurched evangelicals back into church, and prejudiced evangelicals back to the Bible.
Christianity Today
Books: A Paper Doll King David
hide thisJune 16 June 16

In the Magazine

June 16, 1997

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.