The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart,by Peter J. Gomes (Morrow, 383 pp.; $25, hardcover). Reviewed by Douglas D. Webster, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego.
There may be no one better suited to interpret the Bible for the children of modernity than Peter Gomes, minister in the Memorial Church and Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard College. His qualifications are impressive. At 54, Peter Gomes has been preaching at Harvard University for two-and-a-half decades. He is an irenic intellectual and a winsome, articulate spokesperson for a form of Christianity palatable to one of America's centers of secular authority. Gomes is African American, a Bostonian by heritage, and he is gay.
If you want to know where mainstream cultural Christianity is headed, Peter Gomes will show you in The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart. The former archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Runcie, calls Gomes "one of the great preachers of our generation" and commends his book as "a triumph of scholarship and devotion … easily the best contemporary book on the Bible for thoughtful people." Thomas Long of Princeton Seminary calls it "superb," "an oasis for the mind and heart where 'unbelieving believers' can find themselves enchanted and provoked once again by the treasures of Scripture." William Willimon, dean of the chapel at Duke University, writes, "Anyone who loves the Bible, or who is trying to love the Bible, will love this book."
Gomes's work deserves serious attention for several reasons. First, Harvard's preacher offers an apologia "in favor of taking the Bible seriously." His lifelong goal remains to "rehabilitate the scriptures for general use." In this respect ...1