Chappo’s ‘A Foot in Two Worlds’ – a review

Posted: May 29, 2014 by J in Bible, Book review

Alright so I’ve started some easy reading! John Chapman was a local hero of ours. I met him a few times, enjoyed his bible teaching many times. He was an inspirational figure. I’m guessing this little book was his last. Let’s give it a run.

Over the next few days I’ll be posting a review.

CHAPTER 1    NOT FOR WIMPS

This chapter is really an introduction. Chappo is as engaging as ever. His intro draws you in, it’s mostly testimony, his own reflections on what it’s been like living a lifetime following Jesus. ‘Very good – and very hard’: that’s his verdict. Fair enough. It’s the details that make this chapter engaging. Chappo makes the Christian life sound good: his enthusiasm is persuasive.

His book aims to ‘help us see that this constant battle to live a life pleasing to God, is …normal’.

He ends the intro setting up a model where a Christian is a person with a foot in ‘two worlds’: this one and the one to come.  This model comes as a bit of a surprise after a chapter all about living in this world. The world to come is mentioned here but not explained. It seems the book is going to have an ‘eschatology’ dimension. It will be about the ‘tension’ of living in two worlds at once, Chappo tells us.

Presumably this tension is closely related to the ‘constant battle to please God’ – for the book aims to be about both these things.

But we are left wondering how this ‘foot in both worlds’ image relates to Christianity being both good and hard. Is the world to come the good part, and this world the hard bit? Or do both ‘good’ and ‘hard’ relate to this world? In which case, how does the world to come, come into it? 

Or to put it another way around: If the book is about the tension of living in both worlds, why is the intro all about how the Christian life is both ‘good’ and ‘hard’? Is the ‘hard’ part the tension? I suspect that’s the intention here. Christian life is hard because of the tension of living with a foot in each world. And what he means by that image, hopefully will become clear in the chapters ahead.

Warmly written, but a little puzzling so far. This is an intro that doesn’t quite introduce. Perhaps it warms us up, rather than opening up the main theme. What does Chappo have in mind for his book? At the end of chapter 1, the signs are not clear.

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