New Life: Rediscovering Faith. Stories from Progressive Christians.
Edited & Collated by John W H Smith and Rex A E Hunt.
Morning Star Publishing, 2013. P/Back. RRP $32.95. 240 pages
Reviewed by Tom Hall
Retired English teacher, an active long-time Associate Fellow of Westar Institute,
Editor of 62 books for the affiliated Polebridge Press, and for over thirty years a lay preacher,
presently happy to be serving a small pastoral Quaker meeting in Rhode Island.
Testimonies, once a staple of Protestant evangelism, are largely absent from mainstream churches today. No doubt it is a salutary development that emotional and often self-centered effusions now find little place in the context of community worship.
But with the publication of New Life: Rediscovering Faith. Stories from Progressive Christians, John Smith and Rex Hunt have invigorated the old form with a welcome infusion of… new life! They have assembled first-person accounts of twenty-five thoughtful and articulate seekers who had all but given up on traditional religion before they at last discovered a Christian path that was able to accommodate the twenty-first century worldview.
And I am not alone in finding their testimony as attractive as it is heartfelt: an elderly parishioner, to whom I lent the book after basing a well-received sermon on a dozen excerpts from the text, told me she was delighted to find in the lives of others support for what she had long felt to be the essence of religion.
Those who are searching for a faith that will neither insult their intelligence nor deny their critical faculties will find this book an invigorating experience.